I love blowing and watching bubbles, and I’ve been trying to come up with an image involving bubbles for a while. I eventually settled on a girl running with a large bubble wand and her dog chasing along behind her. Here is my pencil sketch:
I used a brush pen and a light table to ink directly on my cold press paper, rather than penciling on the paper and inking over it:
I think this piece turned out pretty well, though I feel like the dog’s jumping-while-running pose could feel a little more natural, but I’m not sure what I need to change in order to do that. I may revisit this idea in a couple of years, but until then I feel I’ve done the best job I can with it. Thanks for reading!
A friend of mine pointed out to me that I should have more images of groups of people in my portfolio, which is largely images of one or two figures. He also suggested that I should look at the portfolios of other illustrators and find an image to sort of recreate in my style while keeping the general content and feeling of the original image. I chose an image of a very chaotic birthday party with lots of kids running around doing stuff, a dog, a toddler, and a slightly overwhelmed parent. Here is my first sketch:
I felt like this conveyed the action and feeling I wanted, so I tightened up the pencils and in the process, made a few changes. I added a couple more kids to the background, sort of reposed the Mom so that it seemed like she was in danger of being tripped as she moved through the kids with the cake, and I decided that the kids would be playing with balloon animals and objects. Here is my tightened pencil sketch:
I then made a few more changes after looking at the image with fresh eyes, such as changing the position of the Mom’s legs, the position of the baby, making the pairs of balloons asymmetrical in relation to each other, and making some of the balloon strings more curly, which added even more to the feeling of movement and chaos.
I inked this image traditionally, scanned the inks, and added colors in Photoshop using a brush that simulates the look of traditional watercolors. I think this image turned out very well, and was a good exercise for me.
A few years ago my niece delightedly told me about going to the park and seeing a pig that was being rolled around in a stroller. I thought that was an engaging visual image and decided to try and turn it into a painting. I drew a girl who sort of looks like my niece, timidly approaching a pig in a stroller. I decided that I would have her holding flowers, as if she might be thinking the pig might like to smell or eat them. Here is my first sketch:
I decided that there wasn’t enough context for where this was happening, so I added some background that looked like a park:
I felt like the park bench was sort of crowding the scene, so I changed it around and added a tree:
I decided to paint the pig brown instead of the standard pink, largely because pet pigs tend to be colors other than pink. Over all, I think this one turned out pretty well.
A few years ago I was watching my nieces from Alaska running around a park with some pinwheels and decided that I should paint a scene like that. I loved pinwheels as a kid and even when I pick one up now, there is a particular pleasure in moving it around and seeing that wheel turn. I decided to draw one figure instead of two, but gave her two pinwheels. I also decided that her emotion would be one of unbridled joy, with the wind in her face and leaves flying past her. I added the leaves in particular to reinforce the force of the wind, as does her scarf and hair flying around. Here is my basic sketch:
In the inking phase, I decided that instead of loose ‘gusty’ wind lines, I would ink bands of the sky behind her that look reminiscent of wind, but not in the traditional sense. This also allowed me to give the sky an interesting look when painting it. I chose sort of warm pastel colors, with a couple slightly cool ones in there. My final touch was to add white lines for some extra wind, and to help sell the idea that the pinwheels are actually spinning around. I really enjoyed working on this piece and am pleased with how it turned out.
This painting was commissioned by a friend of mine as a Father’s Day gift. She wanted something that would show how encouraging and devoted her husband is to their daughters, and decided to focus on when her oldest daughter first rode her bike without the training wheels. I thought this was a great idea, and did this initial sketch:
As you can see, the father is focusing on his bike riding daughter, but is still aware of, and protecting, his younger daughter, who is very interested in a butterfly. I did a revised sketch which basically followed the shapes in the rough sketch, but I updated and clarified the expressions and clothing. I also tried to make the faces look more like the real people I was trying to depict:
The next step was to try and figure out what how to color the image. Here is my color comp, done in Photoshop. I had access to a video of the event I was depicting, so I was able to be very specific about the colors of the bike, the helmet, clothing, etc., which was very helpful:
When it came to the final painting, you’ll notice that I decided to add some more trees to fill in the background, and I changed the colors of the young daughter’s clothing to reflect the colors of the father’s favorite sports team. This was one of the most detailed paintings I’ve done to date, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. Thanks for reading!
This is the final image I created before considering my portfolio “complete” for the first time. I had created two boys to help round out the ethnic diversity of the humans in my portfolio, so I wanted to draw a little girl. I sketched a bunch of ideas that I was dissatisfied with before drawing this little artist. The sketch that sparked this idea came sort of by accident though. I showed up about 10 minutes early for a meeting, and used the extra time to sketch, and was excited and surprised to end up sketching this:
I thought this sketch had a lot of potential, so I enlarged it a bit on my computer at home, printed it out, and then, using my light table, traced the sketch on a clean sheet of card stock. I then cleaned up my sketch and made changes until I was happier with the pose, expression, and the other details. Here’s the refined sketch:
I just can stand how cute her face and expression are! I feel like I lost a little of that in the final artwork. I still can’t decide if I should have added highlights to the skin on her face, but I was sort of afraid of doing that. You’ll notice that the colors of the beads on her hair ties match the crayons on the floor…that’s a combination of laziness and artistic balance. I didn’t add any yellow to the picture she’s holding up because I didn’t think it would show up. Overall, I’m really pleased with how this came out. It felt nice to finish up my portfolio with this image. Thanks for reading!
As I close in upon completing my portfolio of spot illustrations, I have been focusing exclusively on humans due to the fact that my portfolio is still what some might call ‘animal heavy’. I love animals and love drawing and coloring them, but I assume that art directors will want to see that I can draw and paint a variety of humans as well. My wife and I spent a Saturday lunch a few weeks ago brain-storming a number of human illustration ideas over delicious plates of Chinese food, and one of her most inspired ideas was, “What about a little girl dancing to the tune of a ballerina music box? Maybe she’s trying to mimic the pose.” I could immediately see that image in my head, and it was easily the best suggestion that either of us came up with during that lunch. Here is my pencil sketch:
I spent a long time revising this drawing. It’s very easy for me (and most artists, I think) to get so bogged down in the details of images that I lose sight of the overall image. I would spend a lot of time just focusing on the positions of the fingers on her hand, only to realize when I looked at the whole image that she now looked like she had two claws! Once I’d found a decent balance between simplicity and detail, I played around with the colors in photoshop. Here is the colored sketch that I worked from:
When I set to inking this image, I was very careful to keep my lines light. I knew that this was a delicate image, and even one sort of heavy ink line could ruin that sense of delicateness. I’m pretty happy with how this came out.
I created this image for the children’s department of the church which I attend. It was for a fundraiser called Word Up where 1st-5th graders were given passages of Scripture to memorize, and they were supposed to get pledges for the memorization. The proceeds went to an orphanage we support in India. I was teaching 3rd graders in Sunday school at the time, so I used a couple of them for this promotional image. I wanted to have a small group of kids that had diverse ages, sizes, genders and races. Here is my revised pencil sketch:
Sometimes I can see colors for images in my mind and just go paint them, but in this case, it took several attempts to work the colors out. I opened my sketch in photoshop, set the image to ‘multiply, and then colored in a layer beneath it. Looking back, having the blue cover next to the blue sweatshirt wasn’t the greatest idea. Maybe purple would have been better. Here’s the colored sketch I worked from:
One last note, I did the ground shadow on a different piece of paper and then added it in Photoshop after I’d scanned in my group. Most of my illustration is done on ‘hot press’ paper, which means that it has a smooth surface, which I prefer for inking the image. The shadow however was done on a piece of ‘cold-press’ paper which had a little bit more texture to it. I did this because cold-press paper seems to handle flat washes of solid color better.
Welcome to 2013! Looking through my portfolio a few weeks ago, I realized that it is almost exclusively animals. This wasn’t a conscious choice, it just sort of happened. I love animals and enjoy drawing them, but I also enjoy drawing humans, so I decided that I needed to focus on adding some humans into the mix. To that end, I sketched up a little kid watching a butterfly:
After drawing this sketch, I spent about a month doing other things, so by the time I came back to it, I could definitely see it with fresh eyes. I decided that this child should probably be a girl so I added some longish hair and a scarf. I also made the butterfly smaller
While planning the colors, I decided that because the girl was wearing a coat, it must be early to mid autumn. I tried to make the grass a bit drab-colored, the dandelions have gone to seed, and I made the girl’s cheeks a bit rosy as if she’s been out in a brisk wind. I then made the butterfly itself a very vivid blue and green to help it to stand out against these muted colors. I liked the idea that a butterfly would be more rare at this time of year, which adds a bit to the girl’s look of satisfaction in seeing it. I played around with some sky colors and clouds, but ultimately I liked the simplicity of just the girl and the butterfly best.
Ever since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by frogs. Their bulging eyes and cool coloration made them stand out to me, along with my inability to catch them. I caught plenty of toads, but frogs were scarce, making them all the more interesting and desirable.They are also remarkably hard to draw convincingly and I did plenty of bad frog drawings in my life before sort of getting a handle on the finer points of frog anatomy. I’m sure that my inability to catch as many frogs as a child as I would have liked played into the idea for this image of a young girl who has caught a massive bullfrog. Here’s my initial sketch:
As you can see, I wasn’t sure whether to have the frog’s mouth open or closed, but overall, I stayed with this basic composition through to the finished image. Next, I added more details, figured out what the frog should look like, what the little girl should be wearing, and all that good stuff:
In my mind I saw this girl sort of as a little farm girl whose front adult teeth have just come in, so they’re very prominent. I also decided she’d be wearing overalls instead of a dress, but would be barefoot. After sitting on the image for a little while, I decided to give her teeth less definition, and make the frog’s head smaller. I also added some wrinkles to the frog’s neck where the girls hands are pressing into it, which help to give the frog a sense of weight and helps to sell idea that these two characters are interacting. Here is the finalized pencil sketch:
Now satisfied with my pencil sketch, I inked the image and made some color choices. I decided to give the girl red hair, and at the last minute gave her a bunch of freckles. The standard “shorthand” in illustrating for freckles is three dots on the cheek and maybe one on the nose, but the people I know with freckles have many, many more than that, and I wanted to try to incorporate that into this image:
Unfortunately, she looked like she had chicken pox or something. I was bummed. It was also clear that I had over-inked her hair, so the red wasn’t really showing through. I decided to re-ink the image and start over, ending up with the image at the top of the post. I made sure not to ink her hair so much, and to not make the line for the frog’s mouth so thick, and then gave her fewer freckles and made her hair a brighter shade or orange. Over all, I think the image is better for it. Well, that’s the story of this image…thanks for stopping by!