Hi – thank you for taking the time to look at my sketchbook. My name is Erik, and I’ve been reading this forum for years. My favorite sketchbooks are the ones where the drawings on the first and last page look like they could have been done by totally different people. Hopefully in a few dozen pages this sketchbook will qualify. Here’s my starting point.
In 2009 I got a sketchbook and some pencils. I spent a month each studying noses, hands, eyes, etc. I have no idea how to properly scan pencils, but to give you a sense of the progress I made there, here is the very first self-portrait I did, and one I did 8 months later.
In December 2010 I got a Wacom, and started messing around with it a little. I want to win a CHOW one of these years, and these are two abandoned pieces for CHOWs #1 and #2. You can see that I didn’t know about low opacity brushwork in the first one… I found Matt Kohr’s CTRLpaint.com sometime before trying the second. Unfortunately I was stymied by how to draw cloth.
Some practice with reflections. That’s a purple lightbulb set within this brass orb thing that fell off my bedpost.
A sinister Link, who is apparently into turtlenecks and perhaps reads gothic poetry about being the hero of time.
Herman Melville – this one taught me I had no idea how to render hair. Also, I was tired of the 50% gray midtones I was working with in other studies, and so I was playing with more blown out values here.
Just messing around with colors, using big brushes to simulate bokeh
The cover image to Barry Lopez’s Of Wolves and Men. I still have no idea how to render hair/fur. In this image I tried the photoshop 3d brushes, whatever those are called.
Luckily, in this self-portrait, I didn’t have much hair… just a little scruff. (Which still looks lousy.) First time I heard about the sharpen filter, which really crispened the image.
A birthday card for a friend of mine. Everything below her shoulders is unreffed, which is why she’s got these shapeless tubes of meat for appendages. The hair looks a little better, though.
A crow and a chickadee. For the crow, I was using a lot of eraser to define the shapes – another thing I picked up from ctrlpaint.
Then there is Alas, a webcomic I started in May of 2011. I read a lot of webcomics, and much like sketchbooks, my favorites are the ones where the artist drastically improves over the lifespan of the comic. I thought that weaving a story into my studies could give my practice some structure, and I’ve integrated my studies into the plot. If you’ve got 15 minutes, you can check out the whole thing here.
But here’s the basic idea: we begin at the protagonist’s college graduation. While his classmates successfully make the leap to the Real World, he can’t clear it, and tumbles into a strange new world. In his first moments in this new environment, he discovers a companion, and learns that this place traps “the incomplete”. The way out is to learn and change, as with any bildungsroman. The difference is, this character evolution is not just emotional but physical and visual one… any changes in the art style will be triggered by the action in the story. So in a little while the characters are going to get manikin-style bodies, but first they’ll have to earn them somehow within the story.
I began at the absolute groundfloor: no color, no real backgrounds, stick figures for characters. For the first six months I used Illustrator to make all my lines.
For the next six I did freehand Illustrator images, and handlettered.
For the strip’s first anniversary, I designed a custom font, and then switched to Photoshop to create the panels. I’ve been doing PSD for a few months, and have figured out a few things. Mostly I have been focusing on making clean lines, facial expressions, poses, and a tiny bit of perspective. I recently started drawing some background elements, and have played around with custom brushes a bit.
So that's it for now. Any ideas are welcome, and thanks again for looking.
So these images are from a side story -- a football-headed troll grows up in a system of caverns.
I have no idea how to draw water, particularly with just black and white.
Took the very common advice of laying in blocks of color at a very high opacity, then blending between them. I think it worked okay.
This is based on a painting done by Cliff Childs, called "Cavern of Souls." I had no chance of replicating his very interesting lighting scheme, but I took a swing anyway.
Since these caves are pretty much pitch black, with the exception of some glowworms, I haven't really figured out how an appropriate value range. In these images they look like they're in a dense fog bank, which I kind of like, but it's obviously not accurate.
I was really happy with how this beam of light turned out. I took a tip from Matt Kohr at Ctrlpaint and made sure the water texture wasn't too different in value from what I already had.
I really enjoy the spiky, streaky effect in this light, but it doesn't interact well with the soft shadowing in the character's head here. Still no clue how to draw water.
Also! I decided to try my hand at some of the classic genres of CA image. Here's "Scantily Clad Lady with Giant Cat":