Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Transition: Minimalism

In the past I tended to go overboard with the soft brush... a seductive brush that encourages overuse.  What you wind up with is mud. 

So I tried keeping my shading to a minimum:
Things you'll find around the house.... especially if you live in a 50s-era retro house.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Zalien: Intrepid Trio of Trick-or-Treaters (c)

Whereas I am sure there is much technically wrong with the rendering...

... here is our Intrepid Trio as they first encounter Zalien.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Zalien's Trick-or-Treaters: Rolly, Paul & Gina

Rolly is one of the trio of Trick-or-Treaters who discover Zalien and his spaceship:
Paul is the tallest and the oldest:
... and Gina is the bravest:

Monday, March 6, 2017

Zalien: Color Comps

Color comps from last week's character design excercise:
... I think I like the nose design in the upper left the best.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Quck break:Sponging Paint

Today I was taking a break from Zalien when I decided to experiment in creating a sponge brush… I specifically want a “dab” brush similar to how Hanna Barbera (and 50s Chuck Jones) would apply paint with a sponge.

Having done that, I then made up a picture. 
Not a great picture but a great technique!
IMPORTAT NOTE: the sponginess is achieved in the initial application.  Because subsequent additions of color are “clipped”, they will only affect the areas originally painted.  Thus, if you keep you first application fairly light with lots of “air” spaces, these will continue to show through further painting.  This way you cannot paint out the original sponginess.  I imagine this was a problem with the original technique: it could only withstand so much paint-over before it stopped looking spongy. 

All in all took me about 20 minutes.  Not great art and the comp is too symmetrical… but a great experiment in bringing back a technique that I thought was strictly a physical application.  PhotoShop… what can’t you do?!!

And by the way, I think this is a great technique for storybooks. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Zalien: A New Look

The problem I'm having with Zalien is a common one for me: I try drawing him too robust, too rotund, with "voluptuous" curves (as opposed to no curves at all).  And that's just not how I like my cartoons.

I like minimalist drawings.  Too me they're easier to control and much, much funnier.

So here's the revamped Zalien with an attempt at showing the process:

Now compare the new character poses {left... very, very rough) with the character poses done earlier (right):

Much better character, I think.  Easier to pose and much funnier.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Zalien: Measuring the Alien

The Tiki Carver was a bit easier to keep consistent but, as I mentioned, the previous character studies of Zalien tend to be all over the place.  Some are longer, skinnier, shorter, etc. than others.  He's a hard character to keep straight so it's important to establish some parameters.

This character study, I think, was correctly proportioned at about 3 1/4 heads in height:
This next character is the same height but other proportions have strayed:
Especially the heads... they seem to belong to two different characters.  One way, I believe, to tighten that up is to create a controlling parameter.  Here's my theory about "The Box":
3 different expressions but clearly they are all the same character.  Now I'm starting to get a kick out of Zalien.

So I have my next task cut out for me: I'll rework a few of my character studies and once they start to look right, color them.  Stay tuned.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Zalien: Emotional Zalien

Some time back I penciled a few ideas showing Zalien experiencing different emotions:
I seem to have had a better grasp of the character back then.  Zalien's a hard one to draw consistently, meaning I have to do lots more of it.

Incorporating these expressions here are perhaps more developed character studies:

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Zalien: Alien Off the Starboard.... Roof, Sir!

I'm not happy with my character sketches at all... but I persevered in coming up with some ideas for a picture.  Here are some layout ideas:

I went with the last one (I draw right to left, bottom to top, because I'm left-handed... as if that makes a difference but for some reason it does). 
I liked this layout because of the full frontal profile of the spaceship and Zalien.  This isn't a bad idea and a pretty good depiction of how a spaceship wound up in a neighborhood on Halloween night.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Zalien the Alien: Character Development

Well, I'm all over the map with this one:
...obviously, I still have a lot of decisions to make.  But I have enough, I think, to depict Zalien flying in his spaceship over a neighborhood.  At night.  Stay tuned.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Zalien the Alien: Environment Thumbs (Strato Views)

When Zalien samples the chocolate he suddenly remembers that chocalate upsets an alien's multiple tummies.  Ohhhhhh.... suddenly he doesn't fell well.  Could someone please fetch his tummy medicine from his spaceship?

Gina is the brave one in the little group of trick-or-treaters and she rushes aboard but accidentally - with a click and a swoosh - launches herself into space!  A panicked Zalien desperately tries to talk her down.
These thumbs are a few studies of the view from the spaceship as it suddenly takes off (roofs, streets) and launches itself into space (earth seen from the stratosphere).

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Switching gears: Zalien the Alien

I'm blocking on an image of a Hawaiian market.  Rather than struggle I'm changing lanes to another idea, Zalien the Alien.

Zalien interrupts three trick-or-treaters on Halloween night and samples some of their chocolate.  Then he remembers that for aliens, chocolate upsets their multiple tummies.  Adventure ensues.

I have the characters but I need a good space ship.  Here I scribbled some ideas.

Try it, it's fun.  Each scribble should take a minute or less:
Fill a page!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Grandpa, the Tiki Carver

Adoring grandfather.  Adorable granddaughter.

Same picture, different style.  Maybe I prefer a "scratchier" look.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Tiki Carver: Granddaughter (rough ideas)

I'm thinking the Tiki Carver story should be told from the perspective of the granddaughter... the story is developing in my mind... so I want to create this character.

So I guess it's important to scribble ideas pretty much as fast as you can rather than second-guessing them...
... just random, non-thinking scribbles at first.  The bottom row, though, is giving me something to work with.

This, I think, looks more like a 6-year-old who considers her grandpa to be the "best grandpa in the whole world":

It's probably a good idea to fill a page with scribbles everyday. 

Here are some tikis in 3/4 view....
...always handy.  They can be re-purposed as required. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Friday, February 3, 2017

Tiki Carver: character process

I'm working on a little picture of Tiki Carver sitting by the roadside in a kiosk, offering tikis for sale.  Here is the character process from scratchy lines to (more or less) finished character:

His expression says: it gets a little boring waiting for someone to stop and buy a tiki.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tiki Carver's Home: Times of Day

If you have a guy who supports himself selling hand-carved tikis at the local market... what do you suppose his home would look like?

Here's an idea allowing us to see his humble abode during the different times of day:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Tiki Carver (continued): Character Study

Here are a few character studies:
... the colors and some of the shapes tend to be all over the place as I was finding the character.  I seem to have reach a semi-consensus and I'm liking this little guy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Picture book idea: The Tiki Carver

Here's an idea...

... a guys sells his tikis at the market.  I'm calling it The Tiki Carver.

Because this picture is sized for a book cover, here's an idea for the title:
"Written..."  HA!  that joke's on me; I don't even have a story yet.  I'm thinking he lives in this cool little place by a tropical beach and he takes his tikis to the market to sell but I haven't decided on the central conflict or what he does to resolve that.

I sketched some tikis:

... they were a blast.  And I wanted him to drive a woody van.  Here were some ideas:

... but I kinda of landed on one that looks more like a Ford Astro Van.  Not the look I was going for.  Ah well.  Onward and upward.