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For Sketch Dailies! I like how this drawing ended up looking a little Take-on-Me 80's.
This is the main character from a novel I'm revising. You'd think I'd sketch my book characters more often, but for some reason they seem less real to me if I do. And so it goes... I like this drawing, but it's not quite her.
Here are a few promotional illustrations I did for my wonderful agency, New Leaf Literary & Media
, as well as a character sketch to test out a digital painting technique.
Finding a method of digital painting that's easy, loose and works well with my sketchy style has always been a holy grail for me. I can spend a kazillion hours and paint something that looks like an oil painting, but I don't have a kazillion hours these days. Besides, that sort of approach doesn't lend itself to the children's books I write, and is far too labor-intensive for comic work -- other than covers. The above technique feels comfy, cozy and very me. And even better, it's super fast! I don't want to jinx it, but I think I possibly just "chose wisely." We'll see as I continue to test it out... :)
I like posting with artwork, so here's an unfinished painting of a supervillain.
But really I'm posting because I'm super excited to announce that I'll be contributing to a Kickstarter for an art book called the Masters of Anatomy
Here are the official details;Masters of Anatomy is a one-of-a-kind anatomy book drawn by 95 animators, illustrators and comic book artists. It features work from world-class artists like Francisco Herrera, Pascal Campion, Florian Satzinger, Warren Louw, Loish and many others. The result is a volume unlike anything that exists today. A must have for any aspiring artist; digital or traditional. www.mastersofanatomy.com - Support this Kickstarter on Friday, October 11th.
I posted these on Instagram
a while ago, but I thought I'd properly scan them and put them on the blog too.
Watercolor and I don't always get along, but I really do love the look of it. Here's a self-portrait and two of my kiddos!
My daughter tells me these two are named Briar-Rose and Peachen.
Here's some of the freelance work I did for Zynga Dallas' Castleville game last year. Of all the freelance gigs I've had, this was one of my favorites; nice people, solid pay and fun assignments.
When I first toured the studio, I brought my children with me, then an infant and toddler. It resulted in a harrowing kid-vomit-art-department-greek-yogurt-incident. Super horrifying/embarrassing! It's still amazes me that Zynga wanted to work with me after that, ha ha, but I'm glad they did. It was a great gig.
Yes, I'm still here! I know... five months, no posts, but I had baby in January, which is my third munchkin if anyone is counting. This means 90% of my day is spent kissing hurt fingers, reading Richard Scarry books out loud, making Star Wars shaped lunch items (wookiee tortillas anyone?) and having dance parties in the living room. As for the other 10%, I was, and still am, busy with work-related art projects -- which are fun and exciting, but like most work-related art projects, they aren't something I can share here yet.
However! While I was off sleepless and zombie-like in cute newborn land, this movie
came out. I worked on it back in 2007 until I learned I was expecting my daughter and no longer wanted to commute to Vancouver. I'd long ago buried this artwork on an external hard-drive, but now that the film has been released, I thought I'd dig out some of my favorite pieces.
Since little babies and theaters don't mix, I still haven't actually seen the film, but I can't wait to!
The drawing above is of the film's villain. I had no idea at the time that he would eventually be voiced by William Shatner. I probably would have gotten all starry-eyed and too nervous to actually do a good design.
This design never made it out of the art department, as far as I know anyway. But I liked him!
There were several character designers and we all collaborated. I ended up focusing mainly on Shanker -- the villain, and Gary -- the protagonist of the film. Working on Gary meant I was also helping establish what his race looked like. The painting above is an early idea.
This is another take. I still like his curvy legs and space shoes.
This was the painting where we all said "Okay! Yeah! That's him!" But then we needed to figure out what his body looked like and define his face more.
I believe this was my next attempt. I thought it would be neat to have more alien shaped feet and hands, but I think there were concerns that he wouldn't be relatable if he was too unusual looking.
My painting here is a little flat, but you can tell we are narrowing things down.
Here's a lineup of Gary's family with an even more finalized Gary. The Scorch sketch on the left was something I did one afternoon because no one had done any designs for Scorch yet. When I left, he was not a major character, but he seems to be all over the film now. That was probably the coolest surprise for me when I saw the trailer.
This is a version of Io. I think Io is a female now. I based this painting on someone else's design. I think it was either David Krentz's
or Fred Gambino's.
And this was another design that didn't make it out of the art department. I liked all his ears, though! Super hearing!
I've mentioned David and Fred, and I should also mention that the talented Michele Graybeal
, Gary Glover, Sarah Airiess
, Tim Guyer, Daniel Leech and Greg Spalenka
, along with our production designer, Barry E. Jackson
, also all worked hard on the character designs and look of the film. (Please forgive me if I've forgotten anyone!)
Anyway, since my newest little love is nearly five months old, I'll hopefully be posting more often. Stay tuned. :)
Thank you Stephen for distracting the kiddos so I could color and post this. :)
Hope everyone has a great holiday!
So yes, this is sort of me, because at the moment I'm nine months pregnant with baby #3 and not nearly this slim. But like the picture, I DO need a haircut.
I painted this for my illustration profile for the New Leaf Literary website
, where I'm now represented by the awesome Suzie Townsend
If I don't get the chance to post again before Christmas, I hope everyone has a great holiday!
My kids are in love with Miyazaki's Totoro. Lately, the Catbus is all my daughter talks about. Here's something both Totoro and Fall-inspired. :)
I like to attend my writing group with a sketchbook and handful of sharp pencils. Here are some doodles from the last few meetings.
I drew this after seeing Brave and finally got around to adding color last night. Wish my hair was this curly and this red.
After looking through some old Comic-Con finds, I drew this Chris Sanders
inspired girl. I love how he makes things both solid and pudgy (especially feet!) and how delicate and confident his line work is.
I'm back! We've finished moving and my studio is all unpacked. Here's a quick sketch I did today. Hopefully a lot more new art will follow... :)
Also, Austin Broder created a free rig of my 2007 caveman illustration! You can download it here.
We've been busy attempting to sell our home and buy a new one since May, so pretty much everything else in life -- including working on new art -- has been put on hold.
But since I miss updating my blog, I wanted to share my sister, Laura Mensinga's amazing short film, which she shot, directed and filmed with Kirsten White. It features their bike gang/art collective The Deadly Nightshades and toured with the 2011 Bike Film Festival. I think it's awesome, and I'm excited it's now online. Enjoy. :)
Pencils for an illustration I may or may not finish.
One of the challenges of parenting for me is maintaining enthusiasm for creative projects. I begin with a lot of energy and excitement, but where I used to just sit down and work on something for several hours/days until it was done, I now must work in small increments, stopping and starting over and over. After stoping and starting five or six times, it feels (even if it's not true) that the art is going nowhere and I should probably just start something new.
Writing seems to be the one exception to the rule, thank goodness. And I think it's because even if I can only sit down for a half hour, I can still knock out a couple of pages and create something that, even if needs polish, still feels complete.
Hey Sarah, quit reposting things.
But wait, it IS different than the original version
and since it took me so darn long, it gets it's own special post.
I plan to redo page two as well, so everything matches, but I'll finish page five -- a new page -- first, which will wrap up this opening scene.
I haven't posted a painting in a while, but I actually have been painting a lot since last summer doing freelance concept design. It was fun to sit down to paint this and realize that all that freelance work has upped my confidence when it comes to digital painting. I've done digital paintings that I've liked in the past, but I always felt that they were 20% deliberate design and 80% unpredictable blind luck. I felt entirely in control painting this. It's so nice to be at that point.
Two revelations that have helped me paint better...
The first: Chop the painting into a few (but not too many) logical layers. In this case, I worked with half of Ariel's hair on the top layer, her face and body on the middle layer and the rest of her hair on the bottom layer.
The second: This one might be a little more complicated to explain. But here goes... and I stole this theory in part from someone at DNA Studios, but I can't remember who now. I'm sorry!
Think about the world in terms of shape, flat color (which can also mean various shades of black and white in something monochromatic) and volume (shading within a shape to make it seem more three-dimensional). Then make two of those elements more pronounced than the third. In this case, I'm focusing on shape and color. I've kept my shading to a minimum.
It would be so fun to see a remake of some of Disney's classically animated films. I know, gasp, hand to heart. But hear me out... I adore classical animation and the original films are of course beautiful and breathtaking, however, we all love seeing a beloved story retold in a new way. Who doesn't like going to see another Batman movie? :)
Dilynn Dumlao did this cool walk-cycle of my Egyptian Girl
design. To see more of Dilynn's artwork and animation (including some awesome My Little Pony art... a great show) go here
Recently, I had to wait in line for two-three hours to enroll my kids in preschool. Luckily I brought my sketchbook and a fistful of sharp pencils. (And some snacks and my kindle...) Not sure who this girl is, but I like that she doesn't have a traditional comic-book shape and is still pretty sexy.
And here are my feet. Who needs shoes?
... and then I decided that I should probably draw my hands, because I still kind of secretly hate drawing hands.
And here's a stab at a Belle sketch, to possibly follow up that Little Mermaid painting. I wish Disney marketing focused more on Belle's love of books, rather than her poofy yellow dress.
Here are some random dragon creatures.
And here's an unfinished fairy, because at that point I got to the front of the line! Hurrah!
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Don't pay attention to this first version of page five. It's horrible. But my post makes the most sense if I start with this image.
Last week I was really lucky to hear Glen Keane speak. If you don't know who Glen Keane is, it would be worth your while to do some googling. He's the incredible talent behind many iconic Disney characters and his beautiful artwork has been a huge inspiration to me and many many other artists.
After Mr. Keane's talk, my husband asked me how it went and I said, "Meh."
At first I couldn't pinpoint why I was disappointed, I mean, Glen Keane did a great job speaking. But then I realized that a silly part of me thought that by listening to one of my art heroes speak, some of his awesomeness would rub off on me and I'd be magically transformed into a better artist. And another equally silly part of me thought I'd leave that lecture with some powerful art secret I never knew before. Ridiculous. I know.
But as the week's gone on, Glen Keane's talk keeps coming to mind; things he said and things I observed about his work. Much of it is stuff I should know, or used to know when I was fresh out of college, but somehow got lost along the way. So thanks from the back row, Mr. Keane! And since one of his points was how important it is to share what we know with other artists, here goes:
- Think of your line drawing as a three-dimensional sculpture.
- It's all in the eyes.
- If you're not satisfied with the first drawing you do... redraw it. And then redraw it. And then redraw it, pushing the pose, the design, etc, until it's as awesome as it should be. I used to do this a lot, particularly when designing characters for people. But for some reason it never occurred to me to approach comic pages the same way.
- As long as you understand how something is built, you can draw it.
- Ebony pencils pretty much rock.
So... above is the artwork for page five of a comic I've been working on. I did this artwork several months ago, tried to ink it by hand, loathed it, and then inked it digitally, which although it's better, it's still stiff and soulless;
Yesterday, thinking about Glen Keane's talk, I decided to dig a bunch of ebony pencils out of my dusty art supplies and apply some of the things I learned to my comic.
Since I was using that first image as my reference and haven't worked on this book in months, I forgot that I got rid of the blindfold... but you can see that I'm thinking about the characters more three-dimensionally. And since I knew I could redraw the page if I made a mistake, my line work is bolder and more confident.
So here's another take on it. (By the way, if you'd like to do this kind of workup to your art, semi-translucent animation paper is a good way to go... I recommend chromacolour. Vellum will als