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A sketchy character.

Some more detail on the face. While the reference photos I used don’t have stubble, Indy usually does, so I’ll add that in when I’m happy with everything else. Still want to do some more skin texture as well.

Finished the initial body sketch yesterday, didn’t take too long. The sketch was done on paper and scanned in. I put the scan on it’s own layer, lowered the opacity to about 10% and drew over it with a pencil brush on another layer, cleaning up the anatomy a little. I copied the head rendering over and placed it on the body, cut the head and collar from the neck and scaled it down to make a better transition between the larger head and the smaller body. I’ll now paint the body in using the head and the reference photo I took as a values guideline.

I’ll add the whip to his right hand after everything else is done. To get a nice curve, I’ll do the majority of that with a stroked path.

Working image size is 11″ X 15″ at 300 ppi.

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Indy Progress

Here’s some more progress on my Indiana Jones piece. I’m working on the body sketches right now and should have a black and white rendering of both together by Monday. Then I’ll begin working on the colour.

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TV Sketches

I don’t often sketch simply to sketch, unless I’m out camping or at the cabin. Even then, chances are I’m cheating and working on an editorial cartoon, caricature or illustration when I should be relaxing.

While reading other blogs and articles by other artists, it seems many of them have a habit of doing warm-up sketches, or simply for practice and growth. With that in mind, here are couple I just made up while watching TV tonight. I need a better scanner.

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Bruce Willis – Split Complementary

This was an assignment for the Seiler course I’m taking. The colour palette had to be split complementary, an art technique that involves picking one colour on the standard colour wheel, and the two colours on either side of the opposite colour on the colour wheel. Did I mention the word ‘colour’ enough?

Then all colours should be made from mixing those three colours. A nice technique, one I enjoyed learning. I had a lot of fun with this caricature…took a long time, but I believe it’s one of my best…until my next one, of course.

And the closeup

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Jason Seiler Values Painting

Caricature of Jason Seiler. This was an assignment for this week in his course that I’m taking. He gave us three people to choose from, but I liked his expression the best, so I went with this one. This was an exercise in values…getting the proper tones and contrasts between black and white. Really loving the course and learning a lot.

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Fuel to the Fire

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to work at home and make my own schedule. While I do get up at 5:00 AM everyday, it’s because I like early mornings. I also like to go for a swim at 11:30 most days, bike in the afternoons in the summer, and sketch in front of the TV in the evenings. I still work more hours than I ever have at any other job, but it doesn’t feel that way.

While I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, it’s easy to take it for granted. So every once in awhile, my wife and I play ‘tourist in our own town.’ It helps us appreciate our surroundings and how fortunate we are to live here.

What does this have to do with being an artist? It recharges the creative batteries. If you never get out of your office or studio, just to decompress and sample what life has to offer, your creativity will dry up. I never feel as excited about my work as when I’ve just returned from a camping trip, a vacation, or even an afternoon doing something fun.

Yesterday, my wife Shonna and I went dogsledding with a local tour company. Only fifteen minutes from our house. As you can see, the weather was perfect, the dogs were a lot of fun and very friendly, and I woke up this morning feeling more creative than I did yesterday.

Want to gain some real perspective? Read “No Opportunity Wasted.” by Phil Keoghan. Changed my life.

Here are a few pics.

No, I’m not strangling the dog…he’s trying to lick my face!

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St├ęphane Dion Caricature

The leader of the Liberal Party, the Official Opposition of Canada. The buzz in all the newspapers is asking, ‘when will he pull the trigger,’ on a federal election. Dion seems reluctant to do so, and the pundits are speculating as to the reason why. I have my own opinion on this, but then again, so does everyone else.

This is the cartoon based on the sketch in the previous entry. I’ll often sketch out the pieces separately. The hand with the gun was one sketch, the suit wasn’t even sketched, just painted straight into Photoshop. I then piece it all together and paint over it on a separate layer, eventually deleting the initial sketches.

Have a great weekend!

The cartoon

The close-up

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Creative Catch-22

There is one annoying part about finishing a caricature, illustration, cartoon, or anything else creative, for that matter. I usually dislike it about 5 minutes after it’s done. When I first started out doing this, the time between ‘finished’ and ‘can’t look at it,’ used to be longer. Lately, however, it happens a lot quicker. Looking at any of my past work only makes me want to redo it.

I asked Seiler about this in my most recent caricature course critique and he commented that he felt the same way. His take is that it’s a good sign, because it means we’re constantly growing as artists. If we were still happy with everything we’d done before our current work, it would mean we hadn’t grown at all since that time and we’d become stagnant. As we learn new techniques and develop a more discerning eye, our ‘ghosts of artwork past’ no longer measure up.

While it’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one, it does feel as if we’re all just trudging mules chasing that elusive carrot hanging in front of our eyes…except that we’ll never catch it. This does further reinforce the old adage, “it’s not the destination, but the journey.”

So what did I learn this week? Enjoy what you do for it’s own sake, because in the end, each little success is nothing more than a step toward the next one.

Here’s a sketch of Opposition Leader Stephane Dion for an upcoming caricature.