Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sketchy Kate

Sketched in sketchbook pro and then cunningly added to a paper texture to make it look like it was sketched in a physical book used for sketching, possibly know as a sketchbook, I have sketched this sketch of a woman with a sketchy future.
It's a sketch.
Last week I had to explain to the head of the visual art department of the polytech closest to me that I used a wacom tablet and various digital painting software to create these little gems. You would have thought I was actually speaking Braille if you had seen the look on her face.
"So you, you actually draw these? By hand?"
"Yes, I sketch them in sketchbook pro and then paint them in painter."
"Oh so you do draw them in a sketchbook first?"
"No I draw them in sketchbook pro which is a piece of software."
This is the HOD of a place that teaches digital illustration and I'm explaining what a wacom tablet is. It's not a wonder that people on trademe get confused when I try and sell prints. "It's a print, of a sketch, that was sketched in the computer... Just like a regular sketch, only done in the computer, not  on paper. "
Anyhow this is Kate. Quite possible the stupidest woman on planet earth. And when you take into account all those American socialite bimbos who don't seem to know how to wear underpants despite the fact that the paparazzi  are actively walking around with mirrors on their shoes, that's going up against some pretty stiff competition.
I'm curious what her family thinks about her impending inclusion in the royal family. What I'm really curious about is why no one has sat her down, slapped her really hard and asked "Are you out of your fucking mind?" I mean seriously, look at the consequences of marrying into that family. Sure it starts out nice enough, a few streets get blocked off to accommodate the royal wedding and it's televised so there little to no chance of everyone you ever knew getting to see how nicely your wedding dress looks and someone else is footing the bill which always helps and marrying royalty takes wedding presents into a whole new realm of thinking. I know that New Zealand's prime minister is even now trying to figure a way to give them his first born as a wedding present. (John Key and Prince William have the same hairstyle, interesting fact there. Write it down, memorize it. Impress your friends at parties.)
But after that it goes downhill pretty damn quickly and ends with either shilling for a diet centre or  blocking off that same set of streets to accommodate your funeral.
Really I'm just jealous.
I could have made Prince William happy.
And my wedding dress would have looked stunning.
Ha! That's be a post stamp for the ages.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Big Bad Gavin Pope

Been drawing a lot of birds lately. I don't know why. I might be spending a little too much time looking at Florian Stazingers blog.

The moon man

A quick sketch of the moonman. I have been busy today but I have about four pieces that are nearing completion and I'm pushing myself into new and unusual territories with all of them. In a nutshell this means that it's getting difficult and not going as well as it would if it were easy. I put colour on one piece this morning and when I went back to it about twenty minutes ago it was not looking so good. I have a character and a secondary character and an idea for a situation only the "throw it to the wall and hope it sticks" technique I have used in the past is not cutting the mustard any longer and I need a more considered approach.
Basically, this is the point where I would like to leave this work and do something less difficult but that's not an option so I must struggle on and with any luck the results will be worth the effort.
Also I don't like this sketch. I will be having another go.

Friday, April 8, 2011


A while back someone told me that painting batman was an experience not to be missed and everyone should do it at least once. So I decided to go back to the batman of my impressionable youth, the Michael Keaton incarnation. I wanted to do some research so I hired out Batman Returns. I only vaguely remember it so I figured it would be a bit of cinematic entertainment while I eat my dinner as well. It wasn't. That film was dreadful. The characters were dreadful. The story was dreadful. It had Christopher Walken in it. There was only one redeeming feature about the whole experience and it's right at the beginning when they first shine the bat signal into the sky which, through a series of carefully placed mirrors which swivel of their own accord, shines the bat signal into the library of Bruce Wayne, interrupting his own dinner.
At that point he leaps bodily from his chair and looks, with purpose, in the direction of... Somewhere and it's magnificent. The camera is below him, pointing right up his nostrils and emblazoned on the wall behind him is the silhouette of the bat signal.
It just sets up the near constant barrage of bullshit cheese that makes up the whole fucking movie. And its scored by Danny Elfman so on top of everything else, it sounds like an evening at the circus. Actually it sounds like an evening at the circus when the elephant has had a guts full and decided to make a break for it straight through the audience, stopping briefly to scrape its latest trainer off of the sole of its foot and then continue on through rush hour traffic.
But I digress.

This is an attempt to illustrate that glorious moment when Michael Keaton's hairdo takes centre stage. It is a completely failed attempt and looks like a freshly scraped elephant trainer I know but it's an interesting angle of his head and I have every intention of keeping at it until I get it right.
He looks fairly distinctive in his batman costume, I might have a go at that later as well.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Too much?

See, I don't know. I think I could go bigger. The renderings shit, sorry Neville, all your instruction goes out the door when my eyes start to defocus of their own accord.
I will say this for the record, for all the clean up involved, it's probably easier to just skip the liquefy tool and paint the buggers in.
I don't think I have this where I want it yet either. You know those really ugly babies that cry for hours and hours non stop, I kind of want the eyes to bulge out like that. I'm sort of going for the human chameleon hybrid condensed into a puppy thing. It'll get there.

Pinhead and puppy

So Pinhead's pretty much finished. At least his head is. I actually had this at a further stage. In this image the nails have only been gone over with the highlight once and there are no shadows from the nails at all. Earlier this afternoon I did another pass over the nails and then added in the shadows. To be honest it didn't add a lot to the image but it if you look for those sorts of things then you'd notice. Sadly, for some reason, I closed the file and it didn't save or I didn't save it. Which is unusual because if you make any changes at all such as turning on or off a layer it offers you a prompt asking if you want to save the changes. Whatever happened, I didn't save and lost the changes and I'm going to go stick my head in the freezer for a little for being such a fuckup.
Fortunately I have only lost a smidgen of work but I'm too tired to go through and redo it all now. Perhaps later.
Also this is a nicer rendering of the puppy idea and a small close up of the puppy. I sketched the puppy and then started to block in the values when I decided to make the eyes comically large. I did this using the liquefy tool which I often don't use as I feel its a good way to get lazy. But again, I'm pretty tired and I know that I can draw in the eye but I really wanted to see what it would look like with huge eyes and I wanted to see it quickly.

Ta daa! Although, now that I'm looking at it, they could still be bigger. Like huge saucer sized eyes
that take up most of his head.

 For anyone who doesn't know, this is Gary Vay ner chuck. He does a regular online wine tasting on it used to be wine library tv but he evolved the format I think because he enjoyed it so much. Anyhow, he also wrote a couple of books. I haven't read the new one but the first one was called Crush It and was all about doing what you love and building it into something that you can do all the time. I really enjoyed it and his wine tastings are pretty funny as well, even if you don't drink wine. I'm quite happy with how this one's coming out. I want to start pushing my stuff so that its got a bigger focus on cartoony and funny rather than hyper realistic. All this endless fucking detail gets boring as hell. Seriously, if I'm going to render things out to that huge a degree then I may as well just start photo manipulation.
Maybe not, too many people going that way already.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hell Bran?

Decided to scrap the pinhead on the toilet idea. Having him take a dump just didn't sit right, even if that expression just screams constipation. Having him eat cereal seems much more of a contrast. I'm not sold on the hell bran either. Seems a little corny and obvious. Still, it's late and it's been a long day and I'm drawing a blank as to a hellish parody of a well known breakfast cereal. Hell flakes? Lucifero's? Maybe it would just be better to not have it be a parody.
I might not even go with the breakfast cereal yet. There's a pony ride to explore yet. 

Still, I am enjoying painting his face, the black soulless eyes, the cuts in his face lifting up at the corners, the light bouncing off here there and everywhere. The gnashing of teeth. The grinding of bones. The wailing of widows. With any luck I'll get onto putting the nails on tomorrow. That'll be fun no doubt.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Even in hell

They could use more fibre in their diet. I just thought this might be fun to have a go at and I was right. Hooray for me. Actually it presents an interesting challenge because all those cuts in his face have to be lit up to make them read properly and the lighting source is coming from below which is something I've not done before.
Still lots to do on this one but the general idea is there. I'm going to have to do some work to figure out how to render leather underpants. I did think about making them frilly but that would be silly. On the toilet or not, I still want him to look bad ass.
Actually now that I look at it, I really need to fix up the direction of that chin.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I loathe daylight savings

Every year, twice a year I have to go through this shit. One goddamn hour backwards or forwards and my internal clock is ready to leap head first into oncoming traffic. And I mean the answer is simple. Boycott daylight savings right? I think I tried it once. It's not as simple as it sounds. I mean the clock on the car and the clock radio beside my bed are easy but my computer is hooked up to some sort of weird internal mechanism that automatically updates my time and if you want to try explaining to someone at Telecom that you'd like the daylight savings function on your cell phone removed then more power to you. I mean a lot of that stuff is outsourced and wherever those calls go, they just aren't trained to deal with things like an irate lunatic trying first to explain the concept of daylight savings and then trying to get them to join in a worldwide boycott of it.
Anyhow, this is Alan Rickman from the movie Galaxy Quest. One of the more enjoyable films I have seen in my life. Made all the more so because he's in it I'm sure. It is one of the few films that's just as enjoyable today as it was the first time I saw it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sir Ed for Charity

There's a gallery in Wellington that is holding a silent charity auction for Christchurch Earthquake Relief so I've been working on these two paintings as my submission. I may also include a WW1 pilot that I painted last year but we'll see. Originally I had intended to combine the paintings but instead of it looking like a passage of time thing, it looked like a father son portrait. Not really the effect I was after so I've decided to separate the images and list 'em that way.
Big fun. Especially the older guy. His neck was seriously something else. I have this one picture, it looks an old pink sock.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quick spongebob sketch before bed

That second one might just be the single greatest facial expression in the history of all time. I think I'm going to devote more time to sketching the facial expressions of animated characters. Why is it that 3D animated characters never have this kind of range?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Damned Hay fever

Ok so every time, without fail, at the changing of the seasons I will get a cold. Usually mild in its intensity but it does wreak havoc with my ability to paint late into the evening. So I'm going to bed. These are, in order from top to bottom, a painting I was working on for japanese tsunami relief but I have discarded as it's no longer doing anything for me. Next is one of my fathers least successful parenting props, the happy birthday monster, I like that sketch because the kid in it (me) is so miserable that he has no arms and last is a quick sketch of my back with a fairly accurate representation of the worlds largest hair growing out of it. It's not all bad, if I moose it up good and lie in the grass I can pick up the local police radio.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

More Ed, cos you asked for it.

It's coming, the likeness is there, it's just... Lurking. You know that movie he was in where he had the multiple personality disorder and even though nothing in his face would change, he'd look up and you'd see that everything had changed and that's about the time he'd grow to about 12 feet tall and turn green. You know the film I'm talking about right?
I would stay up and work on this some more but I've been painting a thing for tsunami relief all day and my eyes are bloodshot and I have the mother of all headaches so I'm calling it quits early and going to read my book and sleep. Terry Pratchett awaits.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Edward Norton

Just a quick sketch while I should be doing something else. This is I think the third sketch I did of big ed. I seem to remember the likeness being stronger when I started. Now I'm not so sure. I can turn this into a fairly solid painting but it'll have to be later. I've looked at it too long so I'm not really sure what I'm looking at any more.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Classic Dunedin Summer

This is a self descriptive portrait of me painting this morning. Fully clothed, long johns, blanket, hat and fingerless gloves, all tucked up in front of the computer with my tablet concealed beneath my duvet to keep the heat in.
Just like being in Dunedin.
I don't miss it.
I don't care how much circadian rhythm costs. I'm not going through another Dunedin winter without a fight. Or maybe without a heater.

Sneak preview


So the top image with the mice is a sneak preview of something I'm working on. But its a secret. Even I don't know what it's about. I did. Or at least I thought I did. I started off with a definite plan in mind but then these mice appeared out of nowhere. I think its cos my cat had a mouse bailed up outside this afternoon. I think it might have been one of the noisy bastards that lives in my ceiling. She must have given him a bit of a seeing to because all's quiet up there tonight. Strange though, firstly I thought they were rats, secondly it sounded like there was a small army of them up there. Whatever, I shall remember that mouse forever by immortalizing him and his family on the end of a bass.
The other two are value block ins from sketches from last night. I'm not sure if I was tired or what but when I left the Jemaine sketch last night I remember feeling kind of happy with it. When I woke up this morning... Not so much. I was hoping that adding some value to it might kind of sort out a few issues but it still feels weird. Looking at it now, it's the eyes, and that far eyebrow's a bit wonky. But yeah, this is what happens when I work from a lousy reference photo.
Actually it might be the chin. Yeah, it is. The rest of the face is going one way and the chin is pointing in the opposite direction. Oh well, this is why I get up in the morning so I can't really complain. Actually I can, but my eye is leaking like niagara which usually means its time to give it a rest for the evening. Woo hooo!!! Sleep!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Too far?

I don't know, it's late. I mean it still looks like him so it hasn't been pushed too far I guess. But it's kind of lost the humour a little. His lips are big but they aren't that thick. It's kind of starting to remind me of that singing creature in return of the jedi.
I don't think I'll pursue this any further. I may paint one of the other ones or I might switch reference tomorrow. My iPod just died so that's it for sketching tonight. Still, tomorrow's another day right?

Another try at Jemaine

Ok so these are pretty much the same sketch. I started with a different reference photo and was enjoying the likeness I was getting but I kept seeing other possibilities so, save, erase, re-draw, and so you end up with what we have here. 
I think I could probably push it further. I just might yet. 

Flight of the conchords

Just a couple of quick sketches. Not really that thrilled with either to tell the truth. I may do something with the Brett sketch but the Jemaine is just boring. Nope, I'm going to have to have another attack at it. So much to play with, surely I can find something funnier.
I actually saw Jemaine in Wellington city one morning. It was weird.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Everyone likes rollerskating

You know its true Steve. Don't try and deny it.

Not the greatest day of sketches ever.

Some days you can sit down and the sketch pad and just go for it. On those day's everything you draw is gold, every line the perfect line. On days like that you feel invincible. Unstoppable.
Today was not one of those days. Today I started sketching Richie Mccaw and it just did not come together. I thought I had something useable at one point but I left it for a little while and kept sketching and when I went back to it... Yeah, it was a turd.
Looked like something a great dane would leave on the neighbours front yard. I tried to even it out a by adding some paint value to it but by the time I got around to rendering out the corn kernels, I realised that it was irrevocably a turd and that no amount of work on that particular sketch was going to make it look like richie mccaw.
I won't embarrass myself by posting these visual excretions.
Instead I will fast forward to later (much later) in the day when after many more sketches of many more people I finally managed to sketch someone with the added bonus of making it look like the intended someone. Hooray!!!
May I present, Sir Ed. The young Sir Ed at least. I'm working on the old sir ed as well. I'm putting some stuff together for a gallery showing and I want sir ed here to be a part of it. Both young and old. If you're wondering who the two funky looking cats on the side of this are... That's part of my lousy sketching day. They are the two sketches that preceded this sketch. Top first, then the lower one and then the middle one. In that order.
I know, they bare no resemblance to anyone but doing the sketches that don't work is part of the fun. Actually it's only fun if you finally get the likeness you're after. If you don't get it, it's not fun at all. It's just annoying.
In this case, it's part of the fun.

Fun, fun.... fun.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gavin Pope

A quick warmup sketch to start the morning off right. Ahh, facebook. An unlimited supply of faces to draw and no one can stop me.
I am so going to paint this.

P!nk No!se

So I got myself a gnarly little space on the Pink Noise art website. It's pretty cool, relaxing, quiet, the neighbours keep to themselves, there's a dog somewhere close by which barks incessantly but I've rigged up a device that shoots him with rabid cats if he barks more than once in a three second interval. I doubt that this will stop the barking in the short term but few people have rabies because its so lethal and that ought to do the trick.
I'm all about taking the long view.
But yeah, there's an art listing through which you can display work and also there's a magazine. I have no idea of the frequency this magazine gets issued or what but I was a painting with the intention of submitting it for publication when I got the idea to draw pink and pretend like it was an album cover. With the album being called noise.
Pink Noise.
Ta daaaa!!! My endless streak of lame gags continues unabated.  That means "without any reduction in intensity or strength." I know this cos I looked it up. 
Also I sold all of the prints that I did up for the earthquake appeal! Well, not all of them yet. For some reason people decided to bid on a print that had a $30 buy now. In fact two people decided to do that. So now I have two auctions that should have sold for $30 both going for more than $30. Oh and the last of the prints. Number 50 of 50. I put that one at a one dollar reserve thinking that it might get a few dollars more because it's the last one. Well that's up to $30 as well. All the rest have sold. Hooray!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Pinker than P!nk

This is another one of those visual gags that I love so much. Not this specifically, well, yes this specifically. I'll start again. When completed, this will be one of those visual gags that I love so much. This started off as another attempt to get the shapes down and then details after. I also started writing the notes down on the page with arrows and happy faces and newly invented swearwords like crooge. Anyhow, this is going to give me a giggle and the laughter may just die away there but time will tell. Tracee thinks that this is what P!nk's baby would look like if Mick Jagger was the father.
She's probably right.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Primitive Shapes

Aaaahhh, I'm so funny. Primitive shapes. Shapes wearing animal skins in a cave. This might be the lamest joke in the whole world. I'm so going to finish it, maybe make the cave a little more cave like. Definitely tone down that fire a smidge. Ok so once you've finished laughing and have stitched your sides back together, you will no doubt see the odd look face that's underneath it. Well that was the inspiration for the saddest visual gag in the history of time. I've been trying to take my caricatures back to structure. To the bare assed minimum. Basically exploring ideas using primitive shapes. Hard as all hell and I've been failing like you would not believe. I start off with a hiss and a roar but as soon as things start looking like they're coming together I start rendering. That and the primitive shapes just never seem to go the way I want them to. Until this one. I won't say who it is cos it bares no resemblance to him whatsoever but this is the first time I feel like I've accomplished my mandate of using primitive shapes to create a caricature. Not that I created this one very far. I got to this point and started giggling like there was no tomorrow. And then I thought I would post it and that of course led to the cave with the animal skin wearing cube and friends.
How about that fire though? Gotta love that glow brush huh?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

James Hetfield

Not sure where this is going at all. I spent the day working on some other jazz in blender but I took a little break to try out some sketching techniques I was reading about. Something along the lines of getting a likeness using only primitive shapes. A very difficult task but something I'd like to continue on with. My problem is that I inevitably wind up sketching in details and values. Not really the purpose of the exercise but there you go. I'll give it another shot tomorrow. Even if I have to restrict myself to building some primitive geometry in blender and working on it that way, actually that's not such a bad idea.
I'm not feeling the likeness of this one at all. I think that the only tie between this painting and him is the goatee. Possibly if I get his pose correct when I move onto the body sketch that will help things along also but facially, at this point... Might just have to chalk this one up to experience. There is one thing to be said for this painting. It's not going to look like a caricature of Mick Jagger. A lot of my sketches had that Mick Jagger look to them.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I find that there's something oddly thrilling about modeling interior environments. I would keep going with this but I've been awake since 5:30am and I'm pooped. Looking forward to continuing on with it in the morning though. Probably not at 5:30am again though. Bloody roosters. That's what you get for living on a farm. If I'm not being serenaded by a trio of cows or being bleated at by the worlds smallest herd of sheep then you can bet your eye teeth that the insomniac rooster is going to take the first opportunity to remind everyone that he's still kicking. Still all of these things are better than the rats scratching around in the ceiling or the winged vampire mosquitos that think my veins contain an infinite supply of A+ '77. The worst part is when you squish 'em good leaving a big red smear of your own blood on your arm.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rough block ins

So these are the roughs from today. I'm happy with the way that James Hetfield is coming along. I scrubbed out his beard for the moment so that I could get his chin, t-shirt and general body pose sorted out and yes, I'm quite aware that something is a bit askew with his shoulders. That's what the block in phase is all about.
Same with lady day underneath. She started to come together but then the likeness vanished in a heartbeat and I was getting disgusted with myself and the whole process. So I decided to leave it for the time being and see if it looks any better after a few hours break and sure enough, it does. I mean I can see that the nostrils need some serious work but there's really nothing here that is cause to give up. A few structural issues here and there but I'll sort those out as I progress. As I said before, that's what the block in phase is all about.
I may re-sketch the James Hetfield body before I go to bed tonight. I'm really not hitting the mark for what I have in mind here. In fact if I'm honest, despite being happy with the facial likeness, the result I'm working towards isn't the result I had in mind. I may just re-sketch the whole thing and see if I can't get it closer to the, I won't say picture, impression of him that I have in my head.

Moe Yeah

This is Moe, the fully rigged animation character study that I bought from blender cookie. Well, they call theirs Baker but I changed mine up a big and gave him a mustache. Also I've been working on my character expressions and poses so he's kind of turned into my customizable emoticon for the moment.
Moe, Moe-stache, e-Moe-ticon, Moe-ment.
Anyway, he's doing the classic full bodied arm pump because I just got a message from Bob Parker, mayor of Christchurch and the recent focus one of my better paintings. He loved the painting and wants one all for his very own.
Oh yeah!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mo Baker

He's my own personal emoticon. If he had hair, he'd be pulling it out right about now. I suppose he could be pulling on his mustache but to be honest, it's not a real mustache. Literally, it's drawn on. I wonder what he'd look like if it was a ginger mustache? Kind of like a reverse oompa loompa I suppose.


So a couple weeks ago I woke up and did some yoga, scratched out some terrible rubbish sketches and then pumped out something like six sketches that I managed to turn into paintings all in the same morning. The same thing goes here. For the past two days I have been stuck at the juncture between no talent and no hope wondering if I shouldn't stick to just driving trucks. Then tonight, almost as an afterthought, I drop four. Not the greatest sketches in all the world by any means, but there's enough in each to work with. The bruce campbell is probably the weakest but I really feel like there's something there in that sketch. So lets see, at the top is billie holiday, I watched a tutorial once where the guy sketching said that women sketches were tricky, one or two too many lines and a young face becomes aged very quickly. Well he was right. Um, under that is jimmi hendrix smoking... something. Then bruce campbell and finally james hetfield. I'm probably happiest with the last one. Even if it is a wee bit skew whiff. One day I'm going to compile all these crap sketches and post them with the finished product. Just for funsies.