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.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Blecki suggested that I do some value sketching without lines. This was doubtlessly not what he had in mind, but I left it for too late and had to rush something out before bed... Reincheck on that one.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Somewhat simplified anatomy

I was going to do a quick proposal for a simplified anatomical figure/framework, shaving off needless details and isolating characteristic keypoints. Main inspiration was my memory of what Loomis used for figure frames (which kind of looked like awesome Doom monsters). I more or less failed with this one though, ending up with a rather traditional layout which is a lot more fleshed-out than I had intended, and less suited for quick pose sketches. I'll try again tomorrow, perhaps digging out some Loomis stuff for closer study.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Trying to remind myself of the curviness and flow of human limbs. It's all too easy to just fall into the habit of doing random blobs or tubes vaguely based on some anatomical masses, without paying attention to overall coherence and "elegance". It's a lot easier to pull a focused and dynamic-looking pose if you have some natural curves to work with.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Racer style. Rear view. Do you see it? Late night drowsy scribble. I had no idea what it would be until I had already drawn half.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Constructing some heads

The topic of methodical head construction came up earlier today. Figured I might as well do some of that. I can't say it went very well... Started with some basic layouts for side and front view, then a reasonably successful 3D attempt (upper right). The next one after that (below) was really weird though - it started out pretty nice as a seen-from-below view, but the more I worked on it the more I gradually changed it into a level view... No doubt because that's what I'm used to drawing, and my eyes kept telling me that various details should approach that template to look good. I think I need to simplify this a lot more, and draw a very crude sphere+cylinder with a few lines on it before I start considering it as being a head. Weird perspective issues are best handled with an abstract model, while making it look like a natural face is something better left for later when all the keypoints have been established beyond doubt... Tricky.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Quick and dirty again, but with some reference to help me along. It's the title pose and pretty much the only image of him that's easily found everywhere. I intended to spend more time trying out different poses and angles to work on the anatomy, but as usual I left things until way too late when I was dead tired, so there's only this one for now. Legs are kind of disproportionately large, but I like how it looks. This guy isn't meant to carry any kind of earthly physique.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Random figures

Not particularly inspired today. Starting to feel that I should practise constructing human bodies in 3D. One idea I had was to learn some specific superhero costume/figure and draw that one from memory in various angles. I sort of scribbled something resembling He-Man there, but needs more effort and reference to be useful. The main thing I often have trouble with is connecting upper torso and pelvis/legs. The stomach and lower spine are very flexible gizmos.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Grumpy face

Sketched a lot of stuff today, but not much worth showing. I'll choose this one as it's kind of fun and not my usual kind of thing.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Female profile, again

No reference. Getting closer to what I want. Mouth area is still a bit too rough and large, not particularly feminine. Reasonably good considering the long pause since my previous attempt though (more than a week).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Not from around here

Visited an H. R. Giger exhibition. Saw the original creature stunt suit and prosthetic/close-up head from the Alien set. They were severely dried up and cracked from old age but it was all very cool stuff. This sketch is a loose "inspired by" thing using no particular reference other than a random pic of the mouth area for basic shapes.