Days 27 and 28 – Pokemon, Turtles and an Apology

To keep up with sketching everyday I’ve decided to use a smaller notebook as I can more easily carry it around and that gives me more time for drawing.

So here’s my notebook pages for the last two days..





I started of with some lovely Pokemon to get warmed up, and because I like them – all credit for their creation to the wonderful Tajiri San.  You can see that the grey shading pens I was using do not give a very even result – they’re really patchy which is not what I want.  I guess I need to get some alcohol based markers.  They’re supposed to be much better.



Then today I drew a patterned ink turtle.  I began with several photo references  so I could get the turtle shape right.  Then I just let my doodling hands do their thing…which was fun!  Here are the final inks…




You can see that my line work is quite shaky in this drawing – mainly because as my breathing got worse I took more Ventolin which gives me a tremor.  I can work around it by working fast but when I needed to draw slower smaller lines it showed up.

Generally, I quite like this picture plain like this but, once I had the image scanned in, I couldn’t help adding a little shading.  Then one thing led to another and I ended up using just a dash of colour to give it a little punch.  He’s my completed image…





Apologies for not posting for a while.  My chest infection got a lot worse and , even though these drawings were done about ten days ago, I didn’t want to post things without knowing I’ll be up and around to answer comments.  Anyway, after 4 days in bed and a third course of antibiotics I feel like I’m on the mend – at least enough to answer comments!  The next three posts after this were all done before my health got worse too.  I’m going to allow them to be published every couple of days now I’m getting better.  (It’ll stop me getting ‘stir crazy’ in my home for all this time!)

Days 25 and 26 – a dinosaur egg

I wanted to make a simple picture of a dinosaur breaking free from an egg.  Here’s the ink sketch…


Now what I’d really like to do is to colour it with copic markers.  I think that way of colouring would work brilliantly for this subject.  But copics are just ridiculously expensive  – I just can’t ever imagine having the kind of money that would allow me to spend that much on a set of markers.  They must be making a killing from selling those things.    So, I have to find another way.

I tried to colour the picture with gouache…


It was OK but it’ll take some good hard practice to get it looking good.

I also had a go at colouring really quickly using digital tools in Manga Studio.  I was cooking dinner at the time and only had a five minute window before I had to get back into the kitchen.  Here’s the result of that escapade…


It’s kind of rough but it turned out much nearer to what I’d originally wanted than the gouche.  I think because I was only investing 5 minutes into this job I was kind of free to just slap on the colour and not worry about it.  Perhaps I will try to do that with gouach?


Days 23 and 24 – Cityscape

Today I sketched out a little city scene using one point perspective.  I wasn’t really concentrating – more just in that quiet creative place where your doing what you love doing and not worrying about it.  Anyway, I forgot to photograph my sketch so I’ve only got the inked line art and the finished picture to show you.

I inked this in my usual Staedtler liner pens.  I knew I wanted to paint over it with watercolour and the Japanese brush pen I bought seems to have ink which runs when I paint over it.

Here’s the ink:


I had the most fun playing around with the people and the advertising sign.  As a design I think it’s OK but it doesn’t seem to have any flare or joy or life to it – it’s a really flat boring image – more like a poorly drawn cartoon than a piece of artwork.

Anyway, next I tried to add colour to it using watercolour.  It’s such a lovely medium and yet I find it SO hard to make it work well.  With lots of practice I can produce something basically OK  but I am not a natural.  I find it tricky.

So here’s what I ended up with…




Rather than photograph the picture I scanned it in and lost some of the lighter coloured browns and greys on the paths and road.

I pretty pleased with the cyan coloured modern building – I had in mind a modern lab based in my hometown and my picture got close enough to that to remind me of it.  The building I least like is the one on the top right – again it’s based on an old 60’s building which used to be in our town but was pulled down due to concrete cancer.  I don’t think it was ever as ugly in real life as I’ve made it!

I also looked at what it might have been like if I’d coloured it in grey tones rather than full colour:


I think this greyscale version of it really shows up a massive weakness I have when I work in colour – a lack of tonal range.  It desperately needs more darks.  Just darkening the road sigificantly would really help I think.


Ho hum, time for bed now.  My chest infection has come back and I’m on more antibiotics.  I’m managing at work but I am really shattered now.  Night night…


‘I Robot’

Of the few robot sketches I did a couple of days ago, my favourite was this one which I redrew a bit bigger…




Here’s him inked…




And here’s my final version coloured digitally…




I had him with his head on one side because that is what my dog does when I speak to her sometimes.  My guess is that she doesn’t know what I’m saying.  I wanted my robot to be like that – a bit confused by human speech sometimes.  It’s like he’s really logical and just doesn’t get it.  I think I’m a bit like that too from time to time!

Looking at the robot critically I think he looks more like a human in a helmet and armour than a robot.  If I were continuing the design, to draw his body, I would have to make it look clearly different from a human body to make this design for the head work.  I like the way the ‘shine’ worked out – I find that stuff hard.


Who says robots can’t be girly?

I would like to draw a simple comic book / manga robot.  I have been fascinated with robots since I first started reading Iasaac Asimov’s books as a child.

Now I have difficulty imagining things from scratch.  I try to do this a lot but my imagination doesn’t really work that way.  So, when I want to make something original and new I first look at all the great robot-type designs that are already out there.  Often there are bits and pieces that I like and don’t like in each design.  There are also design elements from other characters and objects which also seem to help.

Here are some of the super robot designs I found today which other artists have come up with:


The immortal C3PO and R2D2 from Star Wars


More brilliant Star Wars droids.


Wall-E from the film of the same name.


Robots from the animated film ‘Robots’


Robots fro the game ‘Machinarium’ – here painted by ‘big thumb’


This is actually Spectreman by the artist ‘Dreamflux1’ from Deviant Art but I think he would make a cool robot design.


This is a lovely SteamPunk Robot by the artist Ziom5 on Deviant Art

I think that looking at a range of representations of robots helps me learn the visual language of my subject.  Once I’ve got a feel for it then ideas start to flow – not always the best ideas but it’s a start.

Here are some of my sketches:


Looking at these designs I can see elements of C3Po in the first one and elements of a Star Wars Storm Trooper’s helmet in the second one.  However I felt that the first one was too comical and the second I just didn’t really like very much.  One of the things I love about robots is when they don’t have eyes in the way that we as humans might recognise them.

My second set of designs reflected this:


These two were following along with the Steampunk kind of theme.  I imagined part of the hemet being metal and part of it being made of leather – like a robot version of a pair of goggles.  I quite like both of these designs but my favourite is the bottom one – but only just.

So, I decided to make a big version of the one I liked the most in a few days time and to ink the other three now as they are.

Here are the other three robots inked:


I used three different pens to ink these three robots.  On the top left I used a new Kuretake pen.  I loved the way it allowed me to vary the line width by just using pressure on the tip.  It also had a beautiful stark black ink which really shows up wonderfully on the page.  Because it was so different in terms of feel to my usual inking pens (Staedtler 0.1, 0.3, 0.5 and 0.7  Liners) I found it hard to control.  It also took longer to dry than my normal pens which resulted in some minor smudging, but it wasn’t too long – just not ultra quick.  There was also some bleed of ink into the paper.  I think this probably says more about the  poor quality paper I’m using than about the pen. Overall the ink quality and width control were so good that I am going to practice a bit more with this pen to see if I can get some mastery over it.

On the top right I used an Italian Dip Pen with some calligraphy ink.  It was clearly NOT a success!!!! LOL  I didn’t find dipping my pen into the ink every now and again too onerous, (in fact it made me feel like I was at Hogworts!!!)  However, the actual nib was MEGA scratchy.  It did give me a good variable line width and had more strength in the nib than the Kuretake pen which I liked but the ink took about 20 minutes to dry!!!!  I totally couldn’t work with this.  I’m going to modify things and have another go with dip pens at some point in the future using a better nib – I’ve got some good ones somewhere – and some quick drying ink.  The dip pen nib holder was lovely to hold and felt comfortable and natural in my hand.

The final ink was done in my normal way with my Staedtler 0.5 liner.  It was easy to use although there is no way to vary the width of the line with pressure.  I also found that the ink wasn’t very dark compared to the Kuretake pen.

Then I scanned the ink pictures into my PC and had some top Manga Studio fun…



Who says robots can’t be girly?!




Days 17 and 18 – A winged woman

Today I played around a bit more with my new graphgear mechanical pencil.


I drew a sketch of a woman with wings.  She started off as an angel and then became a fairy.  Then I put a dress on her, which, if you’re flying up in the air, isn’t exactly practical!  Anyway, I was trying see if I could follow Mark Crilly’s drawing style for his Miki Falls manga / comic book series.

Here’s an example of his art on this project:


I like the way he has thicker, darker lines around the main objects and then shades the rest like a really good pencil drawing.  You can really see what I’m mean if you look at Miki waking up in her sleeping bag in the bottom left panel.

So here’s my attempt at that kind of style / effect:



I used a black coloured pencil to do the thick outlines.  It was a watercolour pencil so it was really soft to use and I think I ended up making the lines too thick.  Nevertheless, I’m beginning to get there with that kind of style.


(Then just because I had the watercolour pencils out I decided to colour my picture…

I don’t like the watercolour pencil effect much.  I should have left it alone!