Sunday, November 15, 2009


This is what tends to put me off from drawing. Depending on my mood, the time of day, and any number of obscure planetary alignments, I can draw either reasonably good stuff or completely crappy things, often right next to each other and in the same session (though crappy stuff tends to breed more crappy stuff out of frustration).
Greens are "good", red is bad. Actually the green ones have technical flaws in themselves, especially the top one, but they carry some kind of "life" which makes me happy with them, and I know there was a clear feeling while making them that I could see where I was going and knew what to do. By contrast, the red face was a struggle all the way, and it's evident that I pressed down hard on the pencil in frustration to try and correct mistakes without really thinking about where I went.
It's almost entirely a mental struggle with attitude, patience and temper. That's what makes it so difficult - I know that I already possess the skills to draw at a certain level (proven by results), but it's only accessible to me when I can relax and go about it in an inspired and loose manner.
Confidence is what I lack, premature self-criticism what I have in abundance.

Semirelatedly, one thing that I've noticed is the benefit of a quick glance at reference photography before starting to draw, even if the reference isn't referred back to during the rest of the drawing. Getting an initial "seed" of reality and direction can fuel the sketch even if most of the refinement is done from imagination alone, and it's almost certainly more focused and educational to spend all your time looking carefully at your drawing rather than to go back and forth between it and some pedestaled reference that reminds you of how inaccurate your copy is.

I need to draw more and think less. It is the truth.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Found the music section of newgrounds. Lots of cool stuff there. Listened to some while sketching this, again in cherrybrush. This is a crop, since it started out as a face and the rest turned out kind of random. I like her gaze. No reference.

Random big-eyed woman + wine glass

Arbitrary female face drawn in cherrybrush, grew into a half-figure (which obviously means the pose is stiff and boring). 100% cherrybrush means no selections or transformations, so I spent some time repainting stuff to fix proportions until I got bored/blind. Her whole head should probably be a bit smaller in relation to the body. Eyes are definitely too huge, but I didn't want to redraw them (again).
I'm actually sort of happy with how it looks if you zoom in to a crop just around the face. I had big problems with the mouth and nose though, and I don't feel like I could comfortably shade/paint those areas fully. Maybe I should attempt that next time.
No reference used, of course. Wouldn't have been such a struggle otherwise.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mint space chick

I set aside most of today for drawing, but ended up outside running multiple errands and inside doing other stuff. Spent maybe two hours drawing, tops.
I think I'm having some trouble bringing myself to just draw random practice stuff right now. Feels like I ought to try doing something more sensible, like posing and finishing off a drawing or painting rather than just copying photos for no particular reason. When I'm working on a "piece", I can easily go on for hours without stopping, but when I do random meaningless stuff I lose focus after just 15 minutes and start looking for a way out. It's fun while actually drawing, but as soon as one sketch nears its rough completion I have no desire to start another.

This one here is the last I did today - it was a head loosely based on an image I found, which I drew quickly and lightly. Decided I wouldn't risk ruining it by going over it with darker lines and more definition. Made the "mistake" of trying to add a body which went all kinds of bad places. Eventually salvaged it (more or less) and added a gun and colors to distract the viewer from spotting bad anatomy. Actually tricking her out with a suit and accessories was fun. It reminded me of a short period I had a few years ago when I drew cheesy old-school sci-fi women. I might take that up again, make a little series.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

White bodysuit

...with a curious black dot sewn into the stomach area.
I spent the longest time today not really wanting to start sketching for some reason... millions of reasons why I had to do this or that first, and wasn't feeling up to it. Then I forced myself to grab a pencil and hammer one out before I went to play some games, and it ended up being pretty enjoyable. Go figure - you have to actually try before you can tell if it'll be uncomfortable or not.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sketch week

Drawing has been taking a back seat while I was working on my latest flash game. It is done now though, and I've decided to make sketching my main focus this week. We'll see how ambitious I end up being - so far it's going slow but I'm happy with the results.
These were drawn from various reference found online.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Sketched for a couple of minutes in CherryBrush, just something random. I've been working on a game for the last week and haven't really had much drawing practice besides game graphics. Will hopefully finish the game in a couple of days and then get back to doing some painting.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Just a couple of random sketches today. After doing a few, I noticed a trend in dynamic poses that there's often a curve or line of tension reaching through the body like a wound spring or coil, waiting to be released when the action is performed (be it a running step or a kick/punch etc). It probably has something to do with building up leverage in the opposite end of the body, in the form of mass that can drive and balance the motion to deliver maximum force in whatever is the key element (fist or foot for instance).

I imagine that a football player arches backwards, extending his abdominal muscles and moving the arm opposite his kicking leg back, before moments later compressing all his frontal muscles leading to an opposing contraction of the body, with the leg being thrust forward forcefully and balanced by the arm and upper torso bending forward at the same time.

Seen like that, most such "coil" action seems to happen diagonally through the body, across an arm and a leg. It makes for nice poses anyway (not really put to use in the larger sketches on this page, as they were drawn before I thought of this).
You have to play the action back and forth in your head to figure out what should happen before and after the imaged moment and thereby how the figure should be posed to appear most sensible. It's no doubt a healthy mental exercise, and stick figures are quick and painless to draw so I guess this should be a more common element in my sketch routine...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Definitely not a sketch

Well, it started with a sketch, or several actually. The first image shows all the preliminary sketching that took place before I scanned and started painting.
Watch the digital process on youtube:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Elvgren stuff 2

Some more from the book. Actually I'm still in the first section of it where his influences are presented, along with pictures drawn and painted by other artists. None of these images represent Elvgren's own work.
I'm particularly happy with the little boy in the bottom right pouring water. I was really in the zone while sketching out his chubby little arms and hands, making them very organic and believable, imho. I almost ruined them by trying to go over some parts one more time, but forced myself to leave most of it alone in the early rough state.

Elvgren stuff 1

As I mentioned before, I got a great book on the life and work of Gil Elvgren. A few days ago I set out on a crazy path to drawing every single picture from that book, including various historical photos and whatever else came up. Mainly though it's full of amazing women stylized and exaggerated just enough to make them look "super perfect" (in the words of K.R.)

I'm not trying to be 100% accurate with everything here, just using the images as inspiration and guide for what to draw. Sometimes I attempt to match the exact lines seen in the original, while at other times I draw something very different that's just based on the same angle or scene shown in the book, or a particular detail thereof (like a face or a piece of cloth).

So far I'm having a lot of fun with it. I'm not worrying about completing the whole book, I'll just keep going for as long as it feels worthwhile. The whole point of course is to learn, and to be influenced by some of the best art I've seen.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Photo reference, but used loosely. Just before this I had made another one of the same model (Bar Rafaeli) which turned out horrible and was a struggle. With this one I constructed the head on my own, just glancing at the picture from time to time. I didn't go crazy with getting angles and lines to match up on my version, I just tried to make it look good and natural. There are a few wonks (forehead, ear, near shoulder) but I'm very pleased with it. Critically, it was also fun and "easy" to draw. Listened to great music while making it, might have helped.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hairy heads

Kind of boring, but I thought they turned out relatively nice.

All in one

Several quick efforts from different days all on the same page, and another inside shot of the same car. Both were done while I sat waiting for other people to buy food.

Scenery stuff

Tiny framed scenery drawings. They're fun. Your pencil strokes become so much wider at this scale, almost like using a brush.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Various females

Most from reference, done over the last week or so.

I bought a neat book recently, containing sketches and preliminary roughs by Frank Frazetta. There's some inspiring material in there, but it's not really suitable for use as straight reference since it's all scribbly and stuff. However, I also ordered another art book today which has tons of old-school pinup paintings by Gil Elvgren. I expect to do a lot of studies from that one, some of which will undoubtedly end up here.

Scribbly figures

Sat out in the shade one day and drew some 16 pages (tiny A5). Most of it was crap, but I had a random flash of inspiration where I made a bunch of small loose figures with very little definition to them. Some had discernible legs and/or arms, while others were more like a vague draped figure. I didn't really know where I was going with them, but it was fun and some ended up rather dynamic.
The two lingerie-clad women are from a different session with photo reference.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Actually I didn't have any intention of uploading this when I started it, but I did - so happy bonus sketch or something. Most of it was nice and relaxed, but I ended up noodling a little bit too much around the chin as I wasn't happy with it. Also the shirt/vest is very confused.

Reference from:

Some faces

Got inspired by this little video and decided to do a few random heads. Attempted to go rather loose with most of them, with varying degrees of success. I mainly like the right-most ones, and the ape at the bottom.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ride gets bumpy

I will probably be missing days here and there from now on. Going up to stay with my folks for a few weeks, vacation-style. I'll likely draw a bunch but I might do so at my leisure and just upload "the good stuff" every other day or so.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Gotta gear up the cool when summer comes around... These are not for seein', they're for bein' seen in!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Face of light

I was going to draw something out of Bridgman again, but couldn't feel the buzz. I fancied a face instead, and did this one without reference or anything. Started with the bridge of the nose. Kind of angled back a bit... I really like it though. The weird lines at the top are parts of another sketch, disregard them.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Quick and simple portrait reference. Could use a bit more poof in her hair, but otherwise ok.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bridgman studies 2

Some quick hands, don'tchaknow? Loosely referenced from Bridgman again.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Troll from above

...but mostly random stuff. I'm tired, again.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bridgman studies 1

This is my new sketchbook shown on top of the book I used for (very loose) reference. Bridgman's figures are all very dynamic and lively, while not going crazy with realistic proportion and detail everywhere. It's refreshing to be inspired by his lines from time to time.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Liz B

I actually cheated a tiny bit on this one. Corrected one eye in photoshop after digitizing it.
This is the last sketch in my current book, off to start a new one tomorrow - yay.

Reference: ebanks_GL_19dec08_pa_bt.jpg

Friday, May 29, 2009

Face again

Same routine as yesterday. Got some glare on the picture. Was about to go terrible early on, but I salvaged most of it (still some smudge left around her mouth and jaw that won't erase). Couldn't get her gaze properly fixed on the observer - tricky part, especially when drawing on this scale. Still looks ok that she's glancing off to one side though... I think mine ended up looking more "western" and "traditional" than the reference.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Face on neck

She's a little bit crooked. Expression is completely off, but I didn't even try getting a likeness. I just used the photo as a loose crutch to make some kind of "typical female face".
There are a million things I could adjust in Photoshop, but I won't... I'll just make a few mental notes for next time - vertical eye symmetry, longer nose / less upper lip, jaw symmetry (watch angles). Whoops, mental notes slipped into text. Her head is actually rotated to picture left, which can be seen by looking at the neck. So the picture right side of her jaw/cheek should be wider than her left, not the other way around. An uninitiated observer immediately notices this (though possibly on a subconscious level), but it's very hard to see and fix while drawing. Honestly though, I didn't even think of the neck hint when I drew it. Could be useful in future attempts.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cheshire girl?

Very quick, from reference. Actually I tend to like this approach better than the "opposite" where I start blocking in facial outlines first... it's so hard to enclose something that's not there yet. Building a face from the "inside" is easier. Eyes turned out crazy large, now that I look at it again. Or rather, the nose/mouth parts ended up smaller than intended. I started with the eyes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Random figures

Very nearly forgot to sketch something before heading to bed. Ended up doing some boring figure scribbles inspired by the last few days of pose reference. I wasn't very "into it" though, very tired. Will have a more serious go later. I like the kind of male back view seen on the right - there's something satisfying in blocking out the whole back ribcage/scapula region with just a few lines.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Posemaniacs 4

Let's keep doing this for a while... No effort or imagination required. 30 sec/pose, once again with my modified randomizer app, which I've concluded only works on my computer for some reason. I might port it to javascript or something for better compatibility.
I can feel myself getting a bit looser and more comfortable with these quick figures, which is great. They should probably be coupled with some more careful study though, as I find myself wondering about some specifics now and again, only to have the reference image disappear before I can really figure it out.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Posemaniacs 3

More, 45 seconds this time. I got a bit fed up with the weird poses that would sometimes show up on the official randomizer, so I wrote my own that only selects from a few hundred "normal" poses and angles.
You can try it here (but do as the instructions say and download the swf).

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Posemaniacs 2

Some more of this.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Posemaniacs 1

30 seconds per figure. Really neat way of sketching. Try it @

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Male rear ... head

Simple little thing. No reference, sort of winging it. Worked out rather well I think. I don't think I've really studied ears from this angle, took a few tries to get something plausible.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

He-Man recollection

Re-did the He-Man pic from a few weeks back, without reference. Comparing the two was interesting - most obviously I completely forgot about the shoes, but the overall pose and body shape is also much less dynamic and interesting... sort of falling back towards a stereotypical "anatomical" front view and smoothed-out shapes. Not very surprising, but clearly illustrated by this.
I think I'm going to try this kind of thing some more, since it wasn't particularly daunting to just go ahead and repeat stuff I had moderately clear in my memory - I didn't have to try anything "new".
I'll have to focus more on trying to "jazz up" my pose and shapes though, to avoid boring averageness. Refreshing a bit on anatomy for inspiration wouldn't hurt either. It's much easier to go wild with design and shape when you feel the confidence of knowing where everything should go (through reference or experience/knowledge).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Susan P

Kind of ok. Not awesome likeness but she looks cute enough. Like many others, this one started off very bad and I wasn't sure if it was worth continuing with it (actually I should have taken a snapshot at this stage). I kept tweaking and adjusting though, and eventually it sorted itself out somewhat. Not the ideal way of working, surely.
I find some comfort in the fact that I can "salvage" an early sketch even if it's looking rather bleak. It should mean that I don't have to accept poor results as long as I stay patient and don't ruin the thing by making lines too heavy to erase early on.


Monday, May 18, 2009


I thought I was going to have more time for sketching today than I ended up having... so it's a late-night weak effort once again. The expression on this guy's face ended up even more insane than the original, I think.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Face again

Similar story as yesterday's. This time I left the "warmup" until right before bed though...
Had more confidence with this one, didn't need to do any major corrections. Jaw is a bit arbitrary, I think I improvised a bit there instead of following my reference by the numbers. I like her fluffy hair.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Elizabeth Taylor

This was actually just meant as a warm-up done earlier today before embarking on some more elaborate sketching and studies, but I ended up spending more time than anticipated on this and then I sort of didn't draw any more all day ;)

The image actually started out rather terrible, with eyes way too big among other things. I hadn't done a referenced female portrait for weeks, so there was definitely some rustiness going on. Managed to salvage the whole thing rather well imho, and I experienced a relatively rare sense of... "sensing" the face/shapes/image in general after working for maybe 20 minutes. I think it's partly from spending all that time and attention on the same thing, but also from actually trying to work in shades more than I usually do.
Trying to shade surfaces is obviously more intimate than just drawing outlines. That, and the time aspect, made me kind of "zoom in" gradually - at first the nose was just a vague scribble, but towards the end I was very aware of all the angles and shapes going on there, working very carefully to refine some parts of the nostrils.

Likeness and accuracy towards the reference isn't great. Mainly her real face is sort of longer. I started refinement and detail work without really REALLY leaning back and going over the whole thing multiple times to iron out all the proportions. At first I was actually just going to do a quick study of the eyes and brows.

Reference here:

Friday, May 15, 2009


Look closely. This is what tends to happen when I really really don't know what to draw. The woman doesn't actually count since I drew her yesterday... The swirly blobby shapes constitute "raw flow" of hand sans head. Perhaps some day I'll be able to make something useful out of them.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blob says Bleck

Blecki got this idea for a sketch event - we'd each draw a random blob, then hand it over to the other person for him to draw something within that contour. After a few seconds of blank stare I saw this and then I couldn't get it out of my head even if I tried.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lineless take 2

It's a cat looking at a flower. No lines used for anything, just drawing the shade directly. Also no reference. I like it.