‘Mind the gap’

gapAt some stations on the London Underground (and on other platforms in different parts world too) there is, historically, a bigger gap than normal between the train and the platform.  So they announce ‘Mind the Gap’ for every train.  However, the gap that I’m bothered about is the gap between the comic art which I love and the comic art I can do.

Here are some examples of the work I really love.  The first two are from the Dark Horse Star Wars series (Dark Times and Star Wars Legacy).  [Please note that Disney / Marvel now own the rights to this material.]  The rest are by a chap called Daryl Toh Liem Zhan. Who can be found on Deviant Art at http://tohdaryl.deviantart.com/ .  I’ve followed this guy’s work for a few years now.  In all of this art work the things I would love to learn to do are:

  • To do the line work in that soft pencil-like way which they do using colours for the line other than jet black,
  • To make my background more painterly,
  • I also love, particularly in Daryl’s work, the way some of his colours don’t match too accurately to the line work.  This ‘loosness’ gives a beautiful feel to the work and I like it.  The trouble is, every time I’ve tried to do that, it just looks scruffy and lazy rather than like the loose, free artwork I’m aiming for.

darktimescomicstyle darktimescomicstyle2 legacycomicstyle2 legacycomicstyle1 fmm___the_duel_page_03_by_takeru_san-d3bol2o fmm___the_duel_page_01_by_takeru_san-d3bm5ltI think TohDaryl’s work is simpler but still extremely effective so I guess, for a beginner like me, this might be a good place to start.  I like the way his backgrounds are rough digital paintings with no linework at all.  (If you look on his Deviant Art site you can see how good he is at digital painting.  There’s some fabulous work there.)    His foreground work is mostly really quite tight these days (it used to be looser) but if you look at the handle of the sword… (below)

sword handle  …you can see the beautiful loose style which I really want to go for in my own work.

Compare this to the style which tends to come out of me when I try to draw in this genre:

Hera Portrait_BW_FIN_Small Ezra Portrait_BW_FIN_Small Sabine Portrait_BW_FIN_Small
Which is completely different and not really what I want at all.  It looks more like an animation cell rather than a cool loose comic book.

Anyway – this is the ‘gap’ I’m working on.  If any of you have any ways forward with this I would really appreciate comments!!!

PS:  EarthBalm Music and Michael Bencik thanks for the pointers 🙂

Using Gestures in Cartoon style Work

Well I had some fun today playing around with how to use gestures in cartoon-style figure drawing.  I was planning to look at a comic book style but I think the cartoon type of figure drawing is more loose and will help my comic book style in the long run.

I looked around for some examples but couldn’t really find what I needed so I just started making them up, while lazying around on my living room floor.


Next, I made a collection of the ones I liked best and drew them again in ink…


Then I scanned them in (yes, scanned!  My printer is online again!!!!!!!) and put a border around them.


Well, this is the end of my Gesture Drawing series.  I think it’s been a good journey so far.  There’s still a lot more I can learn from Gesture Drawing, especially since it challenges my autism as well as my artistic abilities.  It has also been really helpful because it’s enabled me to draw figures better and more easily and eased me into ways of making figures more stylistic if I want which I have never felt able to do before.  I’m sure I will work on them again but I’m kind of ready for something new and fresh and fun.  I think I’ll make a short fan-art comic strip based in my favourite galaxy far far away….

…and, since I don’t know how to do that, I’d better see if there are any comic art or cartoon art tutorials on YouTube!

(All Images unless otherwise explicitly stated are © Jo Fox, 2015)

Rocky Scree Slope and an Old Mill


This is another drawing from the ‘How to Draw Anything’ course.  I’ve changed some of the rocks, removed the people and put in two sheep instead.  I also added some foreground to bring the viewer into the picture rather than just looking from afar.  This was done on A4 paper with inks.  It took about 2 hours including sketching. I really enjoyed it.

Below is another ink drawing.  This is of an old mill.  Again it’s a study and I have added a tree and some bushes on the left to balance the picture a bit better.  I used the technique suggested for the water but it’s not really working brilliantly for me.  Although there’ a lot more in this image, and I needed to plan the perspective, I prefer the simple rock picture to this one.  For me this is a bit dull.


(All Images unless otherwise explicitly stated are © Jo Fox, 2015)

Digital Design for a New Acrylic Painting

acrylic design_FIN_WEB

As I’m planning on moving to a new home in the near future I want to make some art I can hang in each room.  This is a digital design I drew in Manga Studio for what I want to paint for my livingroom. (It’s not the painting itself)  I like to paint things digitally first because canvas and paint are expensive and I want to make the most of them.  Anyway, hopefully I’ll get to painting this for real in the near future.  It’ll be the first contemporary acrylic I’ve painted in quite a few years. It kind of feels like summer at nightime so I think I’ll call it ‘Summer Nights’

The Dark Forest Lake – Ink on A3 Paper

This has taken about 4 hours and was done over three days.  It’s my first ever A3 Ink drawing.  I was inspired originally by the dark forest picture on pottermore.  At the time I was refining my ability to draw trees and these creepy bent, mostly dead trees seemed perfect.  It took a lot of patience as there’s lots of paper to cover but I loved doing it.  The chance to draw some better detail was wonderful.  I already have an idea for my next A3 Ink drawing.

Anyway, here it is…


(Click for a larger version)

Also, please note I’m not able to find my good camera at the moment so this photo was taken with my phone.  It has lost the most detailed parts of the image – the surface of the water and some of the other fine lines.

Here is my sketch from early on…


And here is the piece halfway through…


A couple more studies in ink

Over the last couple of days I’ve moved on from drawing trees to drawing mainly rock in the ‘How to Draw Anything’ book I’m working through by Mark Linley.  Two of the studies I’ve drawn so far lent themselves to making into proper pictures with a few alterations.  In the first one I added a couple of mountains to sit the featured hill in some context and in the second I added some birds, changed the sky a bit and made a number of changes to the shape of the island rock formation.

This book is really good – it makes easy work of all of this.

Anyway, here’s the Mountainside picture:


And here’s the Rock Island picture:


Hope you like them!