Sunday, August 10, 2014

(Re)designing Audrey Bluewillow

Audrey is the main character in my fantasy novel, Bluewillow. Ultimately, my dream is to create a full-length comic based on the story, but that's still a long ways off. First, I'm just focusing on the first chapter - which will be about 8 pages in comic form. I'm still in the process of designing the characters. About a year ago, I came up with this turnaround for Audrey:

While this is a fairly decent design, I've learned so much more about character design and drawing in general since then. I started doing a bunch of sketches of Audrey (along with her lovable sidekick, Corridor Green), and I realized that my previous design wasn't quite adequate to represent her character fully.

Also, I realized that I wanted her design to be more focused on circles and spirals, not straight lines like in my original turnaround drawings. So I attempted to push those aspects some more, and I came up with this:

I'll still be refining her design, but I think I'm heading in a much better direction for this particular character. I may tone down the exaggerated eyes, for one thing, but I think I have a clearer idea of what I want her to look like.

What do you think of this new direction for Audrey? Could you see her as the main character in a graphic novel or webcomic?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

iPhone gesture drawings

I did these quick gesture sketches on my iPhone, using the Adobe Ideas app. It's super fun, and it makes these great little vector images, even though it is a bit hard to draw with my fingers. I based these off the theme of "Sorrow."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Roverandom Concept Sketches

Lately I have been doing some exploration sketches for my senior project in college. My senior project will involve doing concept art for the children's story Roverandom, by J. R. R. Tolkien. My idea is to design characters, environments, and props/vehicles for an imaginary animated film based on the story.

The main character is a little black-and-white puppy named Rover (later changed to Roverandom to avoid confusion with other dogs named Rover). He rudely insults a cranky wizard, who subsequently turns him into a toy dog as punishment. The story recounts his adventures to the unlikeliest of places as he tries to get turned back into a full-sized real dog again. Along the way, he crosses paths with a little boy who teaches him about what really matters in a dog's life.

So here are some preliminary "possibility" sketches of Roverandom, the Moon Dog, the Sea-Dog, and the wizard Artaxerxes. They are nowhere near the final designs, as I will continue to work out problems and explore the characters.


Moon Dog:


Artaxerxes (younger version): 

(older version):

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"Swamp Temple" Painting Process - Part 1

One of the things I've been doing lately is going back over my old stuff and figuring out what I've learned since I made it. I'm also putting together a new portfolio of visual development art, so I want it to be as good as possible. As I've been going through all this stuff on my laptop, I came across a digital painting I did two years ago for a scholarship application. This is what the original version looked like:

Eh, it's not terrible, but it still feels like it's lacking depth. There's not much story here, for one thing, but also the whole thing feels flat. The environment is not clearly defined, and the colors are a bit cliché. I felt like I could do better.

I opened up my original Photoshop file to look at what was beneath the final painting layers, and I found a wonderful series of color experiments I'd done with adjustment layers. Some of them are a little too wild for my taste, but they are still fun to look at. Here are a few of them:

When I came to the last one, I immediately became inspired and I knew I would have to retry this piece. I still have a lot to learn about art and composition, but I thought I could improve on this design.

Last night I sat down and messed around with the colors and composition in Photoshop. This is what I eventually came up with for the improved composition:

It's rough and unfinished, and I'll still probably tweak the composition as I start painting, but I think I fixed a few of the problems with it. I put the character in the foreground as a silhouette hoping that he would help the image convey a stronger sense of the story, and my hope is that this alternate color scheme is more mysterious or intriguing. What do you think? Is it more interesting? Which of the color experiments is your favorite?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Figure Drawing

I love this figure and gesture drawing site. Today I spent an hour doing some practice sketches because I want to improve my figure drawing skills. Here are a few examples from today's session:

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Faun and a Pink-Haired Goth

Some recent character doodles from my sketchbook, including a young faun...

...and a pink-haired retro-goth girl named Sydney, who also happens to be a superhero. Yeah, she really is all that. And I didn't even mention what her superpower is. (Don't worry, she'll probably show up again...)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Carewick the Candlemaker

Here's some more concept art for my Bluewillow project. This is Wendell Carewick, the candlemaker. He's a gruff, old widower, but he's got a soft spot for the blue-haired girl who appears under his willow tree. This isn't the final design, but I like it so far.