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.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The buddy baker

I bought a tutorial on character animation from Blender Cookie dot com. It comes with a fully rigged character ready to go and the whole thing focuses on just character animation in blender. This is good because all the tutorials I have ever looked at regarding pretty much any sort of animation have been for maya. Not only that but all the blender tutorials I have ever seen that deal with character rigging are for previous versions of blender. Doesn't seem like such a big deal but when you don't know where all the bells and whistles are, it is. Especially when they change the locations of the bells and whistles from one version to the next. Not to worry, I have puzzled on and my patience has paid off in the form of the above... This is Baker. The blender cookie character animation test subject.
Well, not exactly like this. The actual Baker is orange. See, in my natural procrastinatory fashion, I'm more interested if I can make him look like a porno star than actually investing time making him do things. I mean you could argue that making him behave like a porno star (and all that that entails) would be more beneficial than trying to make him look like a muppet and I would probably agree with you. But what are you going to do?  I was curious if I could change his appearance and I could. Neat. Undoubtedly, further and more graphic updates will follow.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pete's colour treatment

It's still lacking a bit of vibrancy but its coming along. I really want to make the image pop off the page. I think the simple gradient background will help with this but I have to make the colour of his face darker and richer. The problem is that the reference image I have, Pete doesn't look the best. I mean he never looked all that robust but this photo really doesn't do him any favors. I might just have to ignore the reference from this point in. Big fun.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pete but from a slightly different angle

Ok so I just flipped him around for a different look. This is a very helpful technique, kind of like a splash of cold water to wake up the brain. The problem is that it highlights all the glaring errors that you have have adjusted to. I haven't done it for this painting for a while, it was a shock. I have fixed some of the more glaring mistakes but yeah, his cheeks were all skew whiff and I'm still not sure about his jawline. See, this is why you need to flip it more often, so that you fix the mistakes before you get too far along with the rendering. Oh well, I'll see how it looks in the morning. Ahh, the weekend. Time to put the paint brush down and focus on all things animation.

Woohooo!! Blender!!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The finished Bob

It's finally done. It's printed out on thick linen card and it looks amazing. Link to the trademe page where you can bid to own this fine piece of work.
All proceeds to the Red Cross.

Another organ

Tonight a heart, tomorrow a brain. After that, maybe courage and a pair of ruby slippers.

Brought to you in technicolour

So this is the progress of Bob Parker. I'm really happy with it at this point. I'm open to suggestions for the background. It needs to be simple elegant and above all, quick. Want to get this done and off to the printers.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Did you know that there are people out there who get to draw internal organs as their job. As cool as it sounds I doubt that terribly easy. The question I've always had is, how do you get a job like that? Who would pay for it? Why would they pay for it? Still, being able to draw bones and organs is pretty cool and the scratchboard tool in painter is a neat little pen to play with when sketching organs so it makes for a funky little doodle before bed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bob Progress

Just a progress shot. Nothing fancy. I changed the position of the eyes but I'm not sure if they're too small. I mean I know where he's looking but does anyone else? Also fixed up the glasses and added in some shadows and a bit of glare on the lenses. A little but of texture to the face and yeah, I'm really happy with how this one is coming along. Looking forward to getting it done though. I would keep going tonight but my iPod died mid paint so I'm going to continue on with the final Harry Potter.
I'm guessing that Harry wins but there's no telling with these books at the moment. Characters seem to be dying like flies.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Florian Satzinger

Florian Satzinger is one of my largest inspirations. Not that I aspire to do work like his or that his style is something that I try to emulate. But just looking at his work inspires me to keep sketching. His stuff is like crossing Duck Tales with Dr Seuss and despite poring over the work on his blog I can't for the life of me find a purpose for any of it. I mean it might be character designs for an animated series or it might be a magazine. Or it might just be that he's doing it simply for the fun of it which now that I think about it would make a lot of sense. These are neat little drawings and I encourage you to check out his blog but in the mean time I found a quick demo of his sketching process. I think the thing I like most about this is just how rough the first pass sketches are. Also there are similar postings of his on vimeo so check those out as well.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bob Parker

I've been wanting to do a painting suitable to put up one one of those earthquake appeal auctions. I was going to send in my John Key but let's be serious, who the hell would want a picture of John Key on their wall? Apart from John himself. Actually that would have been the main reason to put up a picture of John, to see if he would bid. Whatever, I wasn't intending this to be it but I think that I will use this one. The overall piece is working really well and I think it will actually sell. The icing on the cake would be if Sideshow Bob bought it himself.
When it's done I'll put a little effort into making that happen but for now I'm just going to get cracking painting this. I think that he's going to like it. I've been concentrating on appeal rather than exaggeration. Certainly makes for a challenge but the results are worth it.

How to have a relaxing day off.

After a lousy day in the wind and the rain at the newtown festival I had the extraordinary experience of driving a car with no brakes. I'm not sure what happened but when I got in the car that morning the brakes were not great but usable. I did decide to take the car into the mechanics tomorrow morning though just to get them looked at but this wasn't good enough. To drive the point home, the brakes went completely. No brakes. From the center of Wellington to Waikanae. With no brakes. Good thing I did my morning yoga.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Faceless Uma

I temporarily painted over the sword so that I can sort out a few other elements such as the background, the texture of her sleeve and her hair. Ok so all the other elements that would otherwise interact with the sword. It does give her an interesting look though. Actually, if I got rid of the guard, lengthened the handle in the other direction and then stuck a plunger on to it, this would be a whole other drawing.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Me and Pete

For those of you that don't know, this is the exact face I make when I have to get up and go to work in the morning. I have perfected it over years. I know it doesn't look like I've done much on Pete but that's mainly cos I erased his ears and started them again. I'm much happier with these ears. The angle was messed up before.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Godfather in Hell

A while back on one of my infrequent trips out of my house, I passed by a hell pizza and noticed that they had released a new "Italian" style pizza. The irony wasn't wasted on me I can assure you. Still, to advertise this "Italian" pizza, someone had created a cartoon devil wearing a bow tie and holding a slice. The cartoon devil had a certain Godfather look to him which would fit with the whole "Italian" theme but it just wasn't hitting the mark. So I thought I'd give it a shot. Now this was several months ago so the moment has well and truly passed but what can you do? I am very happy with how this came out and also that it's done. I will be emailing this to Hell Pizza very shortly. I'm hoping for some zombie work to be honest. Or half naked girls with tails. I'm not fussy.

Another one done

Finally another one out the door. There's a lot I like about this, but there's equally as much that I don't like for some reason. I think I should just be happy its done and go to bed with a smile on my face. I read an interview today that said the goal as an artist is only to be better than you were the day before. This echo's my own thoughts so completely that I'm wondering if I didn't read it somewhere before adopting it. Regardless. I feel that this is true of me today and so I'm going to bed early. Before I unwittingly start something and then stay up until 3am again.