Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pointless Fun: Depthy



Depthy is a website which allows you to create this 3D-effect on your images. You just upload an image, then draw your own "depth map," which is easy. Basically you draw dark grey on top of areas that should be in the foreground, middle grey on the midground, and white on the background. Then Depthy makes it look like this.

There's no point to it; it's just fun.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I'll Be Your Pillow - plus some news


I've been visiting my parents this week, and their pet rabbits were being cute and using each other as pillows.

Some news - for the next three months my husband and I are going to be traveling to New Zealand and Australia. We're going to continue to work from our laptops while traveling around. I'll continue to post drawings here, as usual, and I'll post a few photos from our trip too!

The past few weeks have been crazy. Not only did I have a lot of work to do on drawings, and on Crea, but we also packed up all our stuff and put it in storage. Next my husband and I drove from Oregon to California to visit our families. Today we fly to New Zealand - a whopping 13-hour flight.

Blog readers, next time you hear from me again I'll be halfway across the world. See you then!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Don't Start With Digital

There are a lot of things I love about digital painting, and I will defend it against anyone who suggests that it's "cheating" or "not real painting." However, if you are just starting to learn how to draw, I don't recommend starting with digital painting.

The only way to get better at drawing is to draw a lot. Artists like to say that everyone has to create 10,000 bad drawings before they can start creating good ones. While this is an oversimplification, it's also very helpful to keep in mind.

If you're just starting out, you'll probably make a lot of bad drawings and it will be frustrating, and you'll start looking for ways to avoid that frustration. This is natural, but it also leaves you vulnerable to the siren song of digital painting, which promises easy answers and quick fixes. Here's why I don't think you should leap into digital right away:

1. Learning the programs will distract you from drawing. Photoshop and Illustrator have a lot of little buttons to learn about, and keeping track of your layers and preserve transparency buttons takes some getting used to. If you're also learning the basics of drawing, it can all be overwhelming - and possibly make your drawings worse.

2. Fancy brushes and textures can be a crutch. Many digital beginners place way, way too much emphasis on different kinds of brushes and textures. These texture brushes can come in handy, especially if you're a concept artist who needs to render things quickly. But they can't replace drawing skill, and it's easy to spot an artist who relies on them too heavily. (See Chris Oatley's post on "the Texture Monster.") Don't think that using a tree texture brush is the same as learning to draw trees.

3. You'll want to buy the most expensive equipment. Trust me, it's only a matter of time before you meet a Cintiq evangelist and start drooling over that $3,000 piece of equipment. You'll start to tell yourself that your drawings would be so much better if you had the really good stuff. Yes, it's important to have decent equipment, but don't think that fancier hardware will save you from having to get through those 10,000 bad drawings. As an analogy, think of a person who wants to lose weight and get in shape, but keeps fretting over having the perfect running shoes or the most expensive gym membership.

If you're just beginning to learn to draw, keep it simple: get a pencil and some paper, and start drawing. If you can go to some life drawing classes, that's great, but don't fret too much over buying the right books or watching the right tutorials or buying the right Wacom tablet. Just draw.

All you need is to wrap your hand around a pencil and draw.

Note - if you are already doing digital and you enjoy it, don't stop. I would never tell someone to stop drawing in a way that they enjoy. But make sure that you're practicing traditionally too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Helpful Links for Illustrators



Finally, enjoy these words of wisdom from Illustration Friday:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

WIP - Marianne and Elinor


I don't usually post WIPs (work in progress) on this blog, because they feel like spoilers to me. But here's an exception.

This piece is for the upcoming Ladies of Literature Volume II anthology, a collaborative art book with the theme of female characters in literature and female authors. The organizers (Arielle Jovellanos and Janet Sung) are planning to run a Kickstarter for the book in February, and I can't post the finished illustration until then. I'm going to have busy winter so I'm getting started on this early. By February you'll have forgotten about this WIP, so I'm ok with posting it now.

I chose to depict Marianne and Elinor Dashwood from Sense & Sensibility because I liked the idea of illustrating their contrasting personalities. Technically I'm only supposed to draw one main character, and the other has to be more of a supporting character. So I'm focusing on Marianne because she's always upstaging her sister anyway.

Deciding on a color scheme is proving to be a challenge for this illustration, because I want the whole thing to have a cool English foggy tone, but I also want Marianne to be very colorful. Conundrum!

Are the open and closed books too obvious a metaphor? Definitely.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sketches of Handsome Actors

Last night I discovered that sketching handsome actors is a pleasant way to pass the time. This is Ioan Gruffold, from the new tv show Forever.

I've been watching House M.D. lately. It's a good show to watch while drawing because it's just constant dialogue interrupted by the occasional seizure.


This is Omar Epps from House.


This is either Benedict Cumberbatch or a young Tom Hanks...I'm...I'm not sure. Whoever you think it looks more like, that's who I meant to draw.


Another attempt at Benedict Cumberbatch. He is freaking hard to draw. I suggest a new challenge: Draw one Benedict per day.