Booga Sketch Run

Looking for kangaroo reference images for the Tuesday Sketch, I couldn’t help thinking about characters from Tank Girl. So I went on a “Booga” reference image sketching spree. This is not exactly an experiment, but I thought I’d use the handy slideshow here.

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Published in: Uncategorized on August 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm  Comments (2)  

Village Lady

I had an old sketch sitting around for a while in one of my “used” sketchbooks. I liked it so much, I dug it out, and inked it. Little did I know I would have trouble with old graphite. So here’s a little love and attention to the originals (this site, and the old sketch).

Here’s the village lady. A kind of hobbit-like person I would say. I liked her so much that even with all the trouble I had trying to erase old pencil marks, I pushed on to finish inking her. I had no idea graphite would stick so much to the paper after a long time. The original probably has 5 or more months of sitting in the sketchbook, in my office. I used a regular white eraser, and even broke out the “gummy” rubber eraser to try and get the pencil marks off, but they always showed through. Nevertheless, the inking made her pop a bit, and the copic marker shading kind of hid the leftover pencil marks. I guess I didn’t intend to ink it, so I pushed on for the “dark” values with the pencil a bit too much. Oh well. To me, it was worth it. Thanks for dropping by, and have a great art time.

Published in: Uncategorized on April 27, 2012 at 9:32 am  Leave a Comment  


I had drawn a sunflower for my wife. It was also a topic sketch for the Tuesday Sketch blog, but that’s not as important as what it is turning out to be. As I may have already stated numerous times, work is taking way too much time from my art time, so I worked on this inking in many sessions of a couple of minutes each, this week. This gave me time to reflect a lot on what I wanted this piece to become. It is a slow brewing experiment, not by choice, but just because there isn’t time enough in my work day lately.

Here’s my original, slightly inked, and missing lots of detail, as you can see from the main image up above. One thing for certain, this week I had time to really study a sunflower, up close. The pattern in the center was hard to figure out, and I still didn’t make the original flower any justice. However, in the process, I managed to give it depth, somehow. My family keeps wanting to touch it. And it seems to pop out of the page. The petals, leaves and stems don’t even compare to the way that center came out. I’m amazed, and feel lucky. Who knows if I’ll ever be able to do it again, but who cares. I’ll give it that sand castle building attitude of not caring because it will be washed by the tide. And I’ll build it again.

My plans for this, still calling it a work in progress, are to color it. But I haven’t decided. I was able to get some good colors last week, using color brush pens, but I’m afraid to try this and mess it up. So I’m going to experiment with scanning, cleaning, and printing the line work unto watercolor paper, and ink paper as well. I will try both methods of coloring. Heck, maybe even digital color. So I’m going to fork out in process, and keep it going. After all, my wife wants to hang it in our living room, as part of a decorating initiative she’s taken on. So this way, I’ll get to experiment, and she’ll be happy doing her thing too. Anyway. I hope you like what you see so far. Thanks for dropping by! Have a great art time (be it minutes or hours at a time).

Published in: Uncategorized on March 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm  Comments (2)  

Caravan – Ink Experiment

My dear wife asked for art work to decorate the house. We picked sea life. She wanted a look blending illustration with strong colors, contrast, and texture. Some image reference searches, and more than a few roughs later, I picked starfish as a subject. Not surprisingly, this turned into a full art experiment. I call it “Caravan” because it looks like these guys are on the move.

I inked the starfish in black. The composition is based on an underwater photo that I later found originated from Apple desktop images. I wanted to approximate the colors using inks, and it was nice to be able to use some color brush pens I’ve had for some time.

Trying to capture a sunny underwater scene, I would be happy to accept if the outcome just “suggested” the goal. My previous post depicts practice drawing underwater sand. Here’s where the troubles started, but I’m glad I for the value in lessons learned.

I started on the sand using grey Copics markers so delineate contours. After that came the color pen brushes. Without much variety, I thought ink washes would help extend my color choices. This idea came after messing the horizon with brownish ink (yuck). I mixed the colors with water to make the “washes”.

The Bristol paper’s non-affinity with water shows a bit of damage. Multiple applications had little effect: not efficient, time-wise. I suspect my method of using ink from the pen brushes is not the best way to go. The first washes for the sand didn’t cut it, so I used light grey Copic to blend things. I set that particular task aside to work on the actual sea stars.

This part was fun. Basing color choices on the references, and punching up the contrast, was good for my soul. I used orange, red, and yellow brush pens – cheap ones too. In the end they bled a little into the sand, but it still looks ok to me. This was my favorite part.

Going back to the sand, I tried to use a darker wash to emulate the water filtered sunlight and shadow patterns. See a little evidence of this in the lower right corner. It wasn’t that effective, so I washed it over some more, and touched it up using grey Copic marker. The water in the horizon was the last straw. Ink wash layers did not help make it as dark as I wanted, and I decided I wouldn’t deal with it, not being a major element in the composition. So I proceeded to give it a general touch up, and called it done.

As experiments go, this one could be called, both a failure, and a success. Lessons learned:

  • Reminder that Bristol does not like water
  • Ink washes should be kept simple, and have the right color before being applied
  • Sand is best suggested.
  • Sea stars rock and make colorful subjects, even if they’re slow little creatures.
  • Underwater atmospheres are hard to convey
  • Test your ink colors before you apply them to your final medium
  • Keep things simple, concentrate on form, composition, and values from the start.

The next piece for my wife will be a b/w ink piece, or an acrylic paint experiment. She likes this one, but you know she’s biased. 🙂 (Thanks honey!)

Don’t be afraid to experiment. I know you’ll learn something useful. Thanks for dropping by, and have a great art time!

Published in: Uncategorized on March 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm  Comments (1)