The Jelly Road

At the time of writing I am recovering from flu, and it’s half term! Why do I always get ill during school holidays?

Because my temperature has been high I have had some really vivid dreams. One of these was a dream about a family of small fish who lived in a jelly-fish-campervan and were travelling down the Jelly Fish Road, which was like route 66 but for fish. As I was noodling around with Autodesk SketchBook, a drawing app, I found myself starting to draw a scene from the dream.

Now, this drawing began as a doodle so I wasn’t thinking about my blog and didn’t make any process photos until I had finished the line art. However, being new to Autodesk SketchBook, at some point I must have accidentally switched on a video recording mode. So, although I have no process pictures of the beginning, I do have a short video of part of it…

Here’s the finished line art. I was trying to get it to look like one of those fun, detailed illustrations for children’s books, a bit like a Where’s Wally cartoon but not quite as manically busy…

Next I began to tone it…

There were some super textured brushes I used for some of the jellyfish campervan structure…

Eventually, after some ultra relaxing drawing, I completed the picture. So here is The Jelly Road

And here’s a close up…

It’s not exactly high art, but it was very relaxing and quite fun to do.

Days 53 and 54 – More Mark Crilley Manga Practice

Over thess two days I practiced some more Manga poses from Mark Crilley’s ‘How to Draw Manga’ books…


So these sketches were done in pencil and then inked.  Then I shaded the inked pictures to give the figures a bit more form.

Next I scanned and coloured my images in Manga Studio…



For a change this time I blended my colours rather than using cell shading.

Things I can’t do, and things I can’t stop doing…

A few weeks ago I started to try to paint my beliefs about faith and love.  I drew some sketches and felt quite excited about it.

Well it turns out that I just can’t do it.  I’m not blocked, artistically or otherwise.  I’ve been sketching other things quite easily.  It’s not that I’ve lost interest in the painting either – I still want to do it.  It’s just that I can’t I think it’s because the subject is really at the very centre of what matters to me.  Any effort I might make feels like it’s nowhere good enough.  The task is simply beyond me.

In the past people used to apprentice to a craft and eventually, if they were good enough, they might become a master craftsman. To be admitted to the guild rank of master they would have to produce a particularly fine piece of work which demonstrated their mastery of their chosen craft.  This was called a ‘masterpiece‘.  I think, for me, the test of being really able to paint one day will be, to be able to paint this picture I have in my heart – my masterpiece.


“In other news”… sadly I was refused permission from my local council to sell my paintings online from my home.  Although I own my place it’s a leasehold and the lease conditions don’t allow it.  In a way it was good to have that question properly answered.  I will continue to paint of course, but it will be, as I’ve been doing so far, strictly for pleasure.  I’ve got a job interview tomorrow so we’ll see how that works out.  It’s at a school I’ve taught at before – a really lovely place – and it’s only for a couple of hours a day which I think I can manage pretty well despite my pain condition.  I think it’s going to be fab if I can get the job.


Finally I want to post a picture.  It’s only a doodle, a bit of fun really.  I was watching Criminal Minds the other day.  I love learning about how and why people behave in certain ways and in this TV show they often talk about that.  While I was watching it I started doodling – I just can’t stop drawing (and also, I don’t like to watch the scary bits).  So, after I scanned it in, here’s what I ended up with…




By the way – my son says when I tell a joke I should have some kind of sign so…“This was a joke!”

(When I tell him something’s a joke in conversation, he replies.. “Very nearly Mum.” and pats me on the back. LOL)

smiling ball


Digital Painting #6 – Modern Japanese Fantasy Animation Style

DVDThe final digital painting style I want to explore a bit is one I saw a few weeks ago in a Japanese film called “Dragon Age: Dawn of the Seeker” by Fumihiko Sori. 

It’s a feature length animation set in the Dragon Age universe.  The story is about a woman called Cassandra and a good magic user called Galyan.  They track a child abducted by evil magic users called Blood Mages and try to get her back.  But they discover that the Blood Mages are in league with a traitor in the ‘church’ of that world which is called the Chantry.  I thought it was an excellent story but what I really loved was the animation.  Now I haven’t seen a ‘Making Of’ film about this so I’m not sure, but it looks like they used a good quality CGI engine to render the characters into standard 3D and then rendered the background a little more loosley.  But then they did two things which really took my breath away. 

  1. They used old school black (or dark) lineart on all the foreground characters and then gave them additional 2D effect shading (on top of the 3D effect)
  2. They additionally rendered armour and liquids and some other surfaces absolutely exquisitely.

The final result was, in my opinion, just beautiful to watch.  For me it is more than just an animated film, it’s a work of art.  I loved it.  I watched it originally via my DVD rental programme but I just had to buy the DVD after seeing it.

So here are some examples of this beautiful style: (Click and image to get into the gallery view and see bigger pictures.  NB: these images are owned by BioWare and Funimation who made the film.)

I want to have a go at using this style at some point myself but it will take quite a lot of work since I’ve got to shade for 3D animation and then add the 2D animation type shading too.  Still, it will be worth it if I can get something looking even half as good as the images in this film.


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)