Sketchbook: cake and grief counselling

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  1. #1
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    cake and grief counselling

    Hello! zoe here. I'll make an introductory post later. Maybe on page 2, just to be contrary.

    Composition 1.1

    Have some crappy phone pics as I don't have a scanner at the moment. This is typical for a sketchbook for me - doodles, quick sketches from photos and shows watched on my computer. Have discovered recently that I really enjoy working in pen. I think I observe more and fuss with the drawing less.

    (I borked my icon and the formatting was driving me nuts so deleted/reuploaded everything.)


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    This is around 4 or 5 years old now, from an intro something-or-other assignment on texture.



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    I'm slowly learning watercolours, because they work well in multimedia sketchbooks, are portable, and don't trigger my ~Art~ twitchiness.



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    And some Copics-on-a-cheap-envelope, because I buy expensive markers then use them on envelopes at work:


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    Some digital stuff to round it out. This is all fanart, because reasons.



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    That was a long post, sorry! Thanks for looking.

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    Last edited by verilyvexed; April 8th, 2014 at 12:33 AM. Reason: how do attachments, how do icon, how do formatting, etc.
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  4. #2
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    Awesome!! I was going to suggest you start a sketchbook and post some of that comic style art you mentioned, and now here it is!! Some really excellent work here… I like all of it. Calvin & Hobbes is one of my all-time favorite comic strips too (I think that's true for everybody though, isn't it?)

    And it's nice to learn your name. Hi Zoe!! (I'm Mike by the way).

    "Figure drawing prepares you for painting at a high level" - Jeff Watts

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    Thanks so much, Mike, and nice to meet you! I had grown fond of 'Double V'. My Dad passed away in February and he got me into Calvin and Hobbes -- comics, really, via Archies and the funny pages -- so it's especially a fave now. I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't like it.

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    Some skull studies
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  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by verilyvexed View Post
    Thanks so much, Mike, and nice to meet you! I had grown fond of 'Double V'. My Dad passed away in February and he got me into Calvin and Hobbes -- comics, really, via Archies and the funny pages -- so it's especially a fave now. I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't like it.
    Ah, now the title of the thread makes sense. So sorry to hear about your dad. I went through it with both of my parents a few years ago, so I understand what you're going through, though I'm sure it's different for everybody. Trust me, it'll get easier as time goes on, though it might not seem like it now. Eventually the pain mostly fades and what you have left are the good memories.

    Some really good skull studies - I'm gonna have to get on the ball!! The only thing I can see that would make them even stronger is to wrap your lines around the form more. You're doing it in places, but if you can do it everywhere it really makes it pop. I've been gradually learning to do it from my cast studies (that's not to say I always do it.. ).

    And yeah, I like double V too lol! I tend to call people by their screen names on the board (or my own version of it). But it is good to finally know your actual name (and gender - it's kinda weird talking to somebody not knowing that.. )

    "Figure drawing prepares you for painting at a high level" - Jeff Watts

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    Thanks so much for the kind words. The title is actually a partial quote from a game, but it seemed oddly appropriate. (The thing in my icon is from a speed paint I did of an AI character from the game. I have a theme going, it would seem.)

    And thanks for the advice on form -- I see what you mean. I'll try that in the next batch! I'm not very experienced with hatching and it's been ages since I've really done any, but I feel like that's feedback I'd received once before. Oops. At least i'm consistent.

    I do the same talking to people online usually, and usually end up with some wildly inaccurate mental image based on no facts whatsoever.

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    Hi Zoe. Yay you started a sketchbook! After seeing your comp 1.1 stuff, I was super interested in what you did for your personal work. Ahhh, such fun stuff in here, and you will only get better and better if you keep up the work. That's exciting stuff!

    Sorry to hear about your dad. Calvin and Hobbes is such an awesome way to connect with his memory. My heart goes out to you.


    I look forward to the work and fun you post here. Cheers.

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    Thanks so much, Grumpysaur! You guys are definitely motivating me. I'm drawing every day, even if I don't post. And thank you for your kind words. I love the variety in your sketchbook.

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    30 and 60 second gestures, random head doodle page, and assorted silliness.


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    My grandfather passed away yesterday. That's three deaths in three months. Not a great year. I want so badly just to dive into studies and draw for hours on end, and there's so much real life crap to contend with (I'm moving out of state for a while in three days, still haven't finished taking care of my father's stuff) -- but I am still drawing. And I'm about to be unemployed, so at least temporarily, there'll be more time for it... hurrah?

    Thanks for looking at tired-ass drawings and listening to me whine!

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  12. #10
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    Oh awesome - I really like the way you're drawing the gestures!!

    Edit - wow, just read what you wrote. Too many deaths - makes it harder to deal with. So sorry to hear it.

    "Figure drawing prepares you for painting at a high level" - Jeff Watts

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    Thank you, on both counts. This is going to be the most cheerful sketchbook post on the site, isn't it? Oops. The year will improve if I have to find a personification of it and strangle it into submission. I'm a violent optimist.

    As for the gestures, I never feel I'm doing them correctly, so yay! I'm really enjoying doing them in pen, though.

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    Your work is really looking great, and it's great to see you remaining optimistic about things. Keep it up!

    SKETCHBOOK: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...1770&p=3729048

    I once went to buy macaroni and came back with no macaroni, a new tablet, and monitor, so yeah, I can be impulsive.
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    I love your line! and colours! your style looks so fresh!

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  16. #14
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    Thank you, thejamesbanks -- and sorry if it seems like I was stalking you. I just have a tendency to be on right after you've updated, lol.

    Thanks so much, kayness! I haven't checked your sketchbook yet but I love your icon.

    Did some gesture drawing yesterday and really liked this pic, so I did a value study. Seeing the thumbnail just now, realised I didn't get her left arm quite dark enough... aaaaand that's why you zoom out for values, self.

    P.S. Anyone feel free to critique anything despite the whole 2014-hates-me rant up there.

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    You need to post lots more...I need more!

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    I second that motion!

    There's a lot of great stuff here, and in your comp 1.1 thread. Can't wait to see more!

    For your most recent piece, I'd revisit the thumb on the left hand (our right) and the relatively flatly rendered right shoulder. The clavicles are a little uneven, also.
    That said, I'd say the strongest part is the right forearm and hand. Wonderfully done!

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  19. #17
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    I had a giggle at the thread title first before actually looking at your work, glad I did, it's got some good stuff in here.
    Never apologise for fanart, I've always figured that it is just as useful an application as studies are

    Regarding critique, do you have any process shots of the way you did the female study in post #14?

    Finn | my sketchbook thread | tumblr | Bēhance | gorillaartfare | whiskey, gin, and pints of beer
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    So I managed to get moved but I've been without internet. Still plugging away, though.

    Paladis
    - Deadpool! Your icon made me happy. And thanks so much! Have you seen the new Cap movie?

    Skoops - Thanks so much! I went back and tweaked her hand, but I couldn't remember what else you'd critiqued -- except the clavicle. I think it might be beyond me, but I'll give it another go.

    fionkell - Thanks! I think I improved a lot after getting into fanart, just because I was drawing more often. As for the female study, I only have a screencap I took halfway through.

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    I didn't discover 'til just after that it was easier to use a softer brush starting than try to blend the hard-edged one I was using. I'm still trying to work out a routine for more painterly things.


    And here's some random other things:


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    The last one is for a friend, of two of her original characters (I keep forgetting to tweak the standing chick's shoulder so it isn't so rounded, oops). I've been doing a lot of gesture studies as well, but they're mostly in my sketchbook so I'll spare you the crappy phone photos for the moment. And I'll probably end up editing this at some point so it's a nice neat grid shape.

    I have a lot of time on my hands lately, and I've been trying to channel it all into drawing, but I'm ending up overwhelmed because I want to do ALL THE STUDIES, and draw ALL THE THINGS, and mostly I'm just running around in circles making lists of things I could be doing. Tips?

    Last edited by verilyvexed; April 24th, 2014 at 01:27 AM.
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  21. #19
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    Your comic book art is amazing. Do you have a Cintiq or something? How do you do such good line work?

    "Figure drawing prepares you for painting at a high level" - Jeff Watts

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  22. #20
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    Thanks so much! I wish I had a Cintiq -- it's a refurbished cheapest-I-could-find Bamboo Connect, and I really need to replace the nib. I usually feel like my lines are all over the place, but I just try to draw really big then shrink it. Line wobbliness shows a lot less. And I use a custom brush preset I found somewhere that's meant to mimic the scratchboard tool in Corel Painter -- it's a lot less fuzzy than the default pressure-size PS brush (but I think if you sharpen the PS brush afterwards it probably gives the same effect).

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  23. #21
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    All that stuff I get - what baffles me is the disconnect when using a tablet. If I'm drawing on paper the drawing is right there, and I can see exactly the orientation of the paper, I know exactly what angle my lines will go when I make them. But with a tablet - a blank grey surface that stares mutely back at me as if mocking my every effort - I can see where the tip of the stylus is aimed, but I can't be sure the tablet is lined up perfectly with the monitor, so if I make what should be a perfectly 'horizontal' line, it might angle a little up or down.

    It's probably worse because I draw with the tablet in my lap - very casual-like. Do you put it on a table? And do you pay attention to make sure it's lined up with the monitor? Lately I have somewhat remedied things - I stuck a clamp on the leg of the table in front of me and I lay a drawing board on my lap with the top edge supported on the clamp. That makes a semi-stable surface, but my legs are still a bit squishy and it can move around a little, plus the tablet isn't aligned with the monitor - I guess I should work on that now that I've said it. Seems kinda obvious now. Thanks, I'm glad we had this little talk! Lol, isn't it great when you can help somebody without even saying a word?

    "Figure drawing prepares you for painting at a high level" - Jeff Watts

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    Darkstrider - I usually have the tablet at a very slight angle, just enough to be comfortable -- but always on a flat (or angled, like on a binder) surface, and I can tell immediately if the angle is off from my usual when I start drawing. I have an artist friend who does use hers in her lap, though, and has great results with it, so maybe it's just a matter of finding what works best for you? I actually like the idea of having it supported and on the lap, just because I tend to have arm and elbow aches/cramps/soreness if my chair and desk height aren't perfectly aligned. (I'm using a kitchen table right now and have to have a folded blanket and pillow in the chair to try to get a decent height -- which is okay, but I'm constantly sliding out of the chair, lol.)

    As far as perfectly straight lines, in Photoshop you can tap your stylus to the surface, then tap elsewhere on the canvas while holding SHIFT and it'll give you a straight line, if you didn't know. (Holding SHIFT as you draw makes them as well, but only horizontally and vertically.) Also, I CMD-Z like crazy, and erase as much as I draw.

    And I love those sorts of conversations! I have a friend with whom I regularly exchange emails just like that. XD



    * * *


    And some more: started on Loomis today. I'm curious about Bridgeman and love the blocky-forms look, but I already had the Loomis book, so. I may end up doing these on scrap/loose paper, because I am terrible with the lower couple of inches in a sketchbook and just sort of fall off the page. Nice feets that fella's got.

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    Playing around. I kind of borked the guy on the left. I think I mismeasured (or misdrew over) the segment too short for the lower calves/ankles/heels. Also, he has ape arms. Oops.


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    And now back to Comp 1.1 stuff and lovingly rendering Lucifer's bum. (I chose a Ferri piece.)

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  25. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by verilyvexed View Post
    Darkstrider - I usually have the tablet at a very slight angle, just enough to be comfortable -- but always on a flat (or angled, like on a binder) surface, and I can tell immediately if the angle is off from my usual when I start drawing. I have an artist friend who does use hers in her lap, though, and has great results with it, so maybe it's just a matter of finding what works best for you?
    Ok, I'm starting to develop a strategy for this now. I have no problems working with the tablet on my lap if I'm painting, because making broad brush strokes doesn't require the precision making lines does. It's only when drawing I require greater precision. Or heck - who knows, maybe when I get my system worked out I'll use it for painting too and that will get more precise. Can't hurt, right? I think what I'm gonna do is make a little semi-permanent shelf just above lap height (most comfortable arm position) that can be easily attached or removed from the table. That gets rid of the little bit of wobble I still get, and then I should be able to set the tablet at a particular angle to align with the monitor properly. On my lap it seems to keep migrating.

    Quote Originally Posted by verilyvexed View Post
    I actually like the idea of having it supported and on the lap, just because I tend to have arm and elbow aches/cramps/soreness if my chair and desk height aren't perfectly aligned. (I'm using a kitchen table right now and have to have a folded blanket and pillow in the chair to try to get a decent height -- which is okay, but I'm constantly sliding out of the chair, lol.)
    Hahaha, now there's a mental image!! I can see you sliding down onto the floor like a wet noodle lol!!

    I do know the shift key trick and a few more that I picked up on Control+Paint, thanks for mentioning those. One thing I'm starting to find though is that, despite what I keep reading, sometimes you need to make lines slowly. I've always heard digital artists make lines fast and then maybe clip off the ends if they go too far, and that works for certain kinds of lines - mostly if they're long and nearly straight. For the more curved ones or for circles it seems to work better to have the heel of your hand laying on the tablet but otherwise move from the shoulder and just slide your hand around while holding your fingers pretty rigid. I guess I'll gradually get the hang of this, and I feel like when I've learned how to do lines well I'll have made a huge step forward. Thanks for all your help on this!

    The Loomis drawings look good! Something weird about that guys' legs though, I notice they're the exact same length as the legs of the figures next to him, which are drawn at a smaller scale. I think his head is a little bigger than a head length too. But the rest look great!

    I'd need to take another look at my Loomis books, but as I recall, he doesn't seem to show you the forms of the body in simplified 3 dimensional form, the way Hogarth and Bridgman do. He probably does, and for some reason I just don't remember that though. Anyway, I think that's what I prefer about them - the way they break the parts of the figure down into 3 dimensional simplified shapes rather than just showing anatomy charts etc. - But I don't mean to know Loomis - he's an amazing teacher and artist obviously. Just trying to figure out why I don't care for his anatomy teaching as much at the other guys.

    "Figure drawing prepares you for painting at a high level" - Jeff Watts

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    I was doing some more Loomis yesterday and I think what happened with the wonky guy is that I drew his thighs longer than they should've been and didn't allow enough room for the lower parts of the legs (and just sort of chopped them off) -- I kept trying to do that on the studies then. If I worked from the bottom up, however, I didn't have much of a problem. Which is kind of funny considering that if I I'm not paying attention, I tend to make the lower portion of the body way larger than the the top. Maybe it'll all even out.

    Darkstrider - (well, the above was 1/2 to you, too; 1/2 general observation) Let me know how that shelf turns out! I'd kind of like to try the tablet-in-the-lap trick now. I had a computer desk of the sort with the drawer that pulls out for a keyboard/mouse, and I'd put my keyboard on top of the desk and put the tablet there, frequently with a binder beneath it to tilt it up slightly, and have it at just above lap-level. Sometimes I couldn't draw with the binder, sometimes I couldn't draw without it. Just one of those things.

    And I think you're right about the brush strokes -- I think a lot of it depends on stroke length, and type of stroke, as well. I don't usually think about what my hand is doing when I'm doing it, but I was doing the bird studies below tonight and tried to use a looser stroke and get my whole arm involved (which was really awkward, what with weird angle and the sliding out of the chair and all).

    • • •


    I tweaked the line variation on the pic for my friend. The face is Mako Mori from Pacific Rim, and the last is a handful of quick robin studies because reasons.


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    Last edited by verilyvexed; April 29th, 2014 at 03:24 AM. Reason: i am sleepy and do not know how words work
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    Still studying Loomis (slowly) and doing figure and gesture studies from Pixelovely. Most of them are awful, but I tend to do them first thing after I've woken up, so I'm going to blame that. Yay, blame.

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  28. #26
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    Haha!I know what you mean - I've done the thing where you go bigger as you work down a drawing. I once did a Batman with giant legs..

    One thing I like to do sometimes when I have the tablet on my lap is to tilt it down a ways. Sit with my knees lower than my hips. It relieves all pressure on the arm and wrist. And there's no reason you need to be able to see the surface of the tablet - it's just featureless grey anyway. In fact I often work in the dark so I don't get all the glare and reflections off the shiny glass surface of my iMac. Stupid glass.

    "Figure drawing prepares you for painting at a high level" - Jeff Watts

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    Great cartoony style! I like your gesture studies as well, but don't forget to pay attention to edges - shadow will be soft on object itself, but sharp if it's fallen.

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  30. #28
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    You can draw right after you've woken up? I'm a stumbling mess until after my first coffee!

    Great work with all of those gestures and figure studies. Some of the loosest ones in that pile are also the most expressive.

    Finn | my sketchbook thread | tumblr | Bēhance | gorillaartfare | whiskey, gin, and pints of beer
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    @in2eternity - thanks for the feedback! I had only been doing stylised shadows for the most part as I seemed to have completely forgot how to render with pencils, so I've been trying more for subtle gradation and paying more attention to the shadows in studies.

    @fionkell - that's my excuse if they're terrible -- I wasn't properly awake yet!


    Now: massive update. I've been drawing tons, but the internet here is terrible so I hadn't been uploading as much.


    A selection of studies (i've got a ton more gestures, but I feel like that's all I've been posting so I'll spare you this time XD):
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    I've been doing commissions on Tumblr, mostly fanart and OCs for people. You can't really tell since these are all cropped/WIPs, but I've been paying more attention to the overall composition, and trying to use predetermined or more limited colour palettes:
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    This was supposed to be just a doodle, so I didn't start with a very good drawing, and then there were some accidental layer mergers, and. Well. It's not great, but I like how the shoulders turned out. I'm not used to really doing armour or anything, so I was playing around.
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    And some more studies:

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    I'm trying to work more on expressions, and mouths, and... well, everything!


    Last edited by verilyvexed; June 10th, 2014 at 01:56 PM.
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  32. #30
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    I like your faces! certainly you have to work more on it but even now they really emotional and unique.

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