Another little Adventure...

Another little Adventure...

A storyboard narrated by Natalie about our Dungeons and Dragons adventure.

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A boy and his dog

Just a late night sketch.  Recently joined SCBWI society of children's book writers and illustrators. Had a good conference in Lansing last weekend all about Marketing, cross promotion and building a network.  My concern is getting on a regular schedule of sketching.  I have been very erratic in my work lately. I have to get on track with my schedule. 


Ethan turned into a wizard and Natalie the warrior...our neighbor broke out thirty year old books and figures to entertain the kids in a little D&D...I drew as the kids played.  Here was the initial character studies for their roles.

Drawing Classes

It's a lot of good fun. It starts out a little timid at times but when the juices get going it becomes a free for all.

Our Big Adventure

We played Dungeons and Dragons a few nights ago.  While Natalie made a dungeon and story, Ethan and I played our characters. Natalie was a little light on the descriptions so I began to draw what I imagined...this is the result.  Some gaps in the story and character development but it was fun to try keeping pace with the descriptions and story as we played...

On the Bridge

Working on more dramatic sequences.  Plus simple emotional gestures with simple shading.  Quick studies and fluid sketching to highlight camera shots. 

This drama is all about the moment of letting go.  Camera angles and pushed perspective hope this is working.

This drama is all about the moment of letting go.  Camera angles and pushed perspective hope this is working.

Initial sequence with the idea of the note in hand driving the scene

Initial sequence with the idea of the note in hand driving the scene

A trip to the Park

A quick storyboard for a trip to the park. 

-she asks if he would like directions...he misses exit ...but all ends well with shots of the park.

This references a park in Ohio called Hocking Hills..

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Maple my Hound dog

She could star in a commercial for dog treats.  Here is a little storyboard sample.  It took about 3 hours from rough thumbnails to finished.  Not sure about the cartoony style but it is how I like to draw.  Way past bed time so time to sleep...

Here are some of the original thumbnails for direction...20 min or so 

Bed Time

A little sample of story boarding. There is something fun about sketching a scene.  Ethan is on the computer a lot but he listens better than the kid I drew in this sequence.  Simple sketches with quick shading, looking to increase my speed and using quick gesture for effect...more to come.

Warm up sketches

My little mice, a few warm ups on my new system.  After 12 years I am looking at some major changes.  I just need to sort a little out for a while.  In the short term look for a few posts that are more story boarding and scenes instead of just post

Sketching In Public

I have always been interested in sketching on site.  But I have never felt very comfortable. Now there seems to be more and more people involved in this on line. "Urban sketchers" is a great site to see the rough and loose style of capturing the moment.  I love the level of indication and quick gestures.  I LOVE THAT IT'S BEAUTY COMES FROM NOT BEING PERFECT.  I used a fine line marker for initial sketches, then a brush pen for the darks. I blended with a simple water brush pen all on a moleskin pad.  

I did these with my son at the local library and later at our coffee shop on the way home. We had a really good time together.  Away from TV and Computers just sharing some food and talking. Listening to others around us, and paying attention to our surroundings. Just focusing on the moment...very nice.  Well time for bed. Hope you like these.

Ethan in his coat, as I tried to ask him about school or reading...conversation with a 7th grader can be challenging :)

Some of the students at the library were learning about the legal system from our neighbor. She is a lawyer and works with high school students.  So busy with Ethan and sketching I didn't even notice her until she came over to say hello.  Later at the coffee house a guy in headphones and a women with long dark hair on their computers.  Each sketch was only a few minutes but I am loving the ink brush pens and simple lines.

Drawing Pigs for 5th graders

     Natalie was out sick for her Birthday last week. So my Art Parent visit was postponed one week.  For her birthday,  she asked me to visit and draw cute pigs with her class. She is my helper, to pass out paper, sometimes even sketch on the computer in front of class. I was not as prepared as I was hoping, but things worked out.  I have started to record You Tube sketching.  I was able to play these in the background as I sketched with the kids.

      I broke elements down to the simplest shapes and lines possible.  In an hour, with 30 kids, I asked the teacher to bring forward small groups of 7 or 8 to sketch with individually on newsprint.  I need to draw simple and fast, but it is fun to respond to questions and requests. All the while the video is playing on the classroom display screen.  Here is a sample of a sketch booklet I hand out ....think BIG!

Sketch booklet

Facing Your Dragon

Sketching creatures is always fun. You can do almost anything and make it work because the subject matter is suppose to be unrealistic, fun and exaggerated.  This is a favorite topic for me to bring into the classroom.  The more outlandish the better, and it teaches the kids to use their own imagination, not just draw something they see on TV.  

This sketch started from thick line thumbnail sketches to just get an idea and gesture in place.  I like the inking and line work detail of the process.  With a flick of the wrist and a calligraphy pen you can get an evil grin, or expressive eyebrows.  The thick and thin is and randomness of the line is what I like about this style.  Some of my preliminary sketches are more expressive even in rough stages.  The trick is to add detail without losing the energy of the line in the early preliminary work.  Keep sketching!

The final image....

Initial color

Warm Up Sketches

Here are a few captured warm up sketches looking at simple shapes and gestures and a few faces.  Quick studies to loosen up your thoughts and get the juices going.  I used to doodle like this more often.  I kept a sketch pad by my desk at the office at all times.  Now I tend to do these during meetings or anytime I have a few spare moments.  These were all done before I went into to work in the morning.  Just let the pencil strokes take you where they may.  Something always comes from this if you give it a good 30 min. of play time.

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Happy Halloween

A quick Vampire sketch for Halloween....It started out as an abstract scribble.  But quickly developed itself into a fun little sketch. Playing with elements like the nose or exaggerating the gesture gives it a bit more feeling. A couple of my favorites are Scottie Young or Creature Box. Both of these examples seem to create a great deal of emotion in their characters.  They also have a style and techniques which allows for a more expressive visual.  Check them out....

Adding Color to the inks

I find it very helpful to really get into the artwork.  

First start talking like a Viking, yelling and pounding on the table as you draw. This helps loosen up and will create better flowing gestures.

Next drink from an old hollow Ram's horn, careful to spill more on your shirt than you actually swallow.  The choice of drink is up to you. This will definitely help your color and value choices. 

Finally, burping very loudly while drawing is just what I do normally...

John at his desk drawing a Viking





I tried a variation, with less blocking in of the blacks.