Jafar as Michael Jackson in Thriller

Yesterday's topic on Sketch Dailies was Jafar, who happens to be one of my favorite villains. I decided to play along and do a drawing. In looking at his design, his clothing reminded me of Michael Jackson's famous jacket from the Thriller video. An idea was born. A drawing was done.

I posted it on Twitter with this caption:

Though you fight to stay alive, Sketch Dailies starts to shiver.

For no mere mortal can resist, the evil of #Jafar.

Sketch: Couple Walking Away

I've been sketching a lot of people lately but most have been of a single person not doing much. I want to step it up a notch with more than one person. Character interaction means at least something is going on... like, say, walking arm in arm.

Web Illustration: Interactive House

This piece was commissioned by a company called Simple Energy that helps consumers track their home energy usage. For publication on the web, it is an interactive illustration with parts that when clicked, display more information about that element. In order to design this functionality, the illustration has 2 views: a grayscale version with the clickable parts in color, and the full color piece.

It was complex to design and took a lot of planning for the details to work right. Sections like utilities and entertainment needed to be visually grouped. Small elements had to be made big enough to be clickable. Large elements like the van and pool couldn't be too attention grabbing. I didn't want buttons or other graphics to mess with the artwork which is why color is used to signify where to click when the cursor hovers over it.

I kept the palette simple as not to overly clutter the piece and give it a modern feeling. But I also wanted it to be warm and inviting. It turned out quite slick. While I've illustrated a lot of architecture, the new challenges of this interactive piece made it an exciting project.

The details up close. Click to enlarge.

Cybill Shepherd Drawing

Someone I follow on Twitter posted a clip of the 1980s hit show, Moonlighting. The nostalgia hit me! I watched the show as a young teen but didn't remember just how striking Cybill Shepherd was. Enter inspiration. This was drawn in Photoshop and is posted in my sketchbook.

Summer Drink Girl

Here's another figure sketch done for practice and fun. I'm quite happy with the digital pencil work on this one. It's got a good balance of outline and shading. More pencil drawings can be found in my sketchbook.

New: Sketchbook Gallery

A new art gallery has been added to my site: the sketchbook, a collection of pencil drawings.

The new sketchbook gallery section.

For several years, I fell from the practice of frequent sketching, something I had always done. This was in part due to becoming more of a digital artist. The use of my paper sketchbooks slowed until I eventually stopped using them. I flexed my creativity and skills in other ways but had ceased to practice much with a pencil.

I photoshopped my digital drawings into a photograph I took of my blank sketchbook.

That changed when I discovered sketching on my iPad, which lead to drawing on my Cintiq. Even though I can create amazing painterly illustrations in Photoshop, I've been focusing on the basics of pencil style drawings. I have a few favorite digital pencils that I've been using for quick sketches and more refined drawings.

I will keep the sketchbook section limited to pencil drawings, both created digitally and on paper. While it is currently mostly figurative work, all digital, I hope for it to grow with a diversity of subjects, styles, and levels of polish.

Redrawing a Drawing

I originally sketched this girl from a photograph because I liked her hair and pose. The first sketch was a quick one where I didn't even bother to draw the full figure. I think I just wanted to draw her hair. But as I started to get a grasp of the style I've been chasing, I thought to redraw her with a more careful rendering in a more caricatured aesthetic.

Click to enlarge.

Chasing a Style

For many months, I've had a certain stylization of characters in mind but I've been having trouble capturing it in a drawing. (Who said being a cartoonist is easy?) Chasing this unknown style what many of my recent pencil drawings have been about.

This guy is the first sketch that makes me think I'm finally zoning in on it. I like the combination of the strong cheekbones, nearly non-existent forehead, and protruding lips. Applying a sculptural quality to these graphic stylizations is what makes them work for me in this drawing.

The drawing below was a precursor to the one above. I was figuring things out about facial proportions but I don't feel I pushed it far enough. But I still like the pencil quality and the character overall.

Portrait Drawn From Vintage Photo

I don't always use reference photos when drawing people, but it's a good way to find a pose or expression without having to devise it yourself. I still add my own touch to make the drawing my own.

1950s Secretary Drawing

The reference photo I came across on Twitter. Vintage photos are always fun to sketch from. This one I did quick and I may have used exaggeration.

Facebook Pages Are Not For Artists

It was nice while it lasted, Facebook, but I'm giving up on the page I created to share my artwork. Why? You gave up on me. For a couple years now, you've been shrinking the reach of my posts. At the time of this writing, less than 10% of my page's 526 fans (the people who explicitly requested to see my artwork) typically see my posts. The page feels useless.


It's not fun anymore.

Being social is fun. You took away the fun, Facebook, by restricting people from seeing my art while I put forth the effort to show it off. It's no fun performing to a near empty theater when ticket holders are in the lobby trying to look in. 

That is, unless I pay up. Look, I understand that you have to make money. But I don't think it's fair to treat independent artists as you do billion dollar corporations. You do it because you earn more this way from big businesses, though us small shops struggle.

I once experimented with paid posts. $5 here, $10 there. Without a long-term budget, an occasional paid promotion doesn't bring lasting value. My page otherwise costs me nothing but my time and effort. As easy as it is to upload art, that minimal effort no longer feels worth it.

I began the page in May of 2011 by documenting the creation of my mural at Whole Foods in Boulder. A large project like that was a great way to kick off the page as I gained a good following at a time when the content reached more people. I enjoyed using it until your algorithm changes chipped away at the fun. 

Facebook Pages are for large corporations, not independent artists.

This is why I shut down my page:

I thought about merely letting it sit dormant so it shows up in searches, or for people to stumble upon and discover my work. However, I'd rather be free of its mental nagging from the back of my internet experience than watch its social potential rot from vacancy and time.

Facebook, thanks for nothing!


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Lines and Shade Girl

Since getting my Cintiq a few months ago, I've enjoyed experimenting with digital drawing, especially emulating pencil style art. In Photoshop, I use a variety of pencil "brushes" to get different effects. This is why so many of my latest pieces are black and white. 

This drawing is an experiment in combining simple lines with careful, high contrast shading. It's not a technique I've done before. Some of my recent work also toys with the visual distortion of the human figure. I'm happy with the mix of these creative elements in this drawing, so I'll likely do more in this style.