Thursday, December 24, 2009

An Anthem Christmas

Here's a Christmas card I made for Anthem Creative Groups. The cards themselves have Anthem's logo on the bottom right.

When asked to sketch ideas for the card, I speculated as to what kind of character would be the most fun to draw.  A snowman was the first thing that came to mind since, they don't really have a "standard look".  Their facial features, limbs, and adornments can be made out of anything. Eyes can be coal, buttons (as shown above), simple indentations in the snow, or just anything remotely round.

Like scarecrows, you can pretty much just dress them anyway you want. Since most people would use old, worn out clothes for that sort of thing, snowmen and scarecrows tend to look a bit like hoboes. I think what I was going for was a "charming English tramp" sort of thing. Dickens-esque, if you will.

As for the concept, I just sketched out the first humorous situation involving a snowman that came to mind.

"A Snowman roasting a marshmallow with a really long stick."

If figured that it'd be something people would find cute and amusing. Something they'd look at and go....

"Hey, well alright. Looks like the snowman's roasting himself up a marshmallow there. Ha haaa, but he's got that long stick cause he doesn't wanna melt. Ha ha ha! How 'bout that? "

It's funny, A lot of my coworkers the interpreted the situation as being very grim. The more I thought about what I drew, the more I started to see it myself.

"A Snowman with wooden arms, sitting on a dry log, in front of a dry tree, holding a branch amidst a roaring fire."

One begs the question. Is he greeting hello, or bidding farewell?

In any case, he can't even eat that marshmallow. What's going to do with it? Even if he had to bodily means to swallow it, it would melt his insides.

Maybe it's like the elephant man. He knows that sleeping on his back with his head flat will kill him, but he just wants to sleep like a normal person. Perhaps the snowman wants to experience his first and last moment of normalcy (normalcy in terms of what "real" people can do). He has the long stick not to avoid the fire, but to savor the experience longer before the fire reaches him.

I often wonder if I'm incapable of creating something without morose undertones.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Aztecs Revised: Part 2

This round, I focused on making the lead lizard-man stand out a bit more.  At the very least, I wanted to continue experimenting with the coloring throughout the page.

In the first panel, I added some of the ground color to his back and added some reflected light to his arm. In the second and third panels, I covered him with some of the sky color. Even then, I feel like the lizard-man with the "hook/sickle"-like weapon wound up taking over the third panel.  It's mostly because I made the cave area darker. That's the exact opposite of what I wanted to do. All the lizard-men kinda pop better now, but I think I like the bright red dirt in the old version better.

As if I wasn't indecisive enough, THIS happened when I was messing around with layering effects.

I really like the contrast going on there, but I can't figure out how to replicate it without the green (which helps give it that glow). It has such a soft painterly look to it. Maybe I can keep some green around their bodies and blacken out the cast shadows. If I brought back the redness in the soil, that would compliment the green.

Hmmm. I don't know what I'll do.

Now, here I pretty much did what I said I was in the previous Aztec post. I brought a  little yellow back to the lizard-men in the second panel, added some value to the third panel, a gradient to the fourth. I decided to throw in that same gradient color to the first panel to tie the whole thing together. A big change I made was brightening up the glow in the second panel. I'm still iffy about that decision. I don't want the values to get too overbearing.  I'll keep playing around with everything and see where it goes.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Checking Over

Ugh. So many type-o's.

Dr. Sketchy Sketches

These were done at "Dr. Sketchy's" held and Atlanta's Cleremont Lounge. I live model session is probably my only reason to ever go to a strip joint.

In the pic above, the challenge was to do something creative with her hat. I just plopped a snake up there.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Aztecs Revised

It's been a while since the last time I worked on these, so I decided pick 'em back up. I was originally just going to work on page 2 today, but as I was playing around with the color, I thought of some edits for page 1.

First off, I noticed that the orange and teal where waaay too dark in both pieces, so I lightened them up. Then I gave the lead lizardman some abstract reflected light. For more "pop", I varied up the colors in the 2nd panel and spread around the sky color in the 3rd. I'm only just now discovering how much some sutble gradiants can add.

And now page 2.....

I'm actually not done with this yet, but you can see that I'm trying to be more effective with the lighting. I can't believe it never accured to me to make the lizardmen in the back lighter. It looks a lot better. I haven't quite decided if I'm going to colorize their contour lines, or keep them black.

Speaking of contour lines, I touched those up here and there (mostly just in panel 1).

I want to keep the last two panels pretty monotone. In panel 3, I'll just add some flat value to enhance the forground and background. In panel 4, I might just drop in some slight gradiants.

Though I'm going against the cardinal rule of "powering through with no backtracking", I'm glad I re-thought my approach with pages 1&2. I'll have a better idea of how to handle the coloring of 3 & 4. It'll be good to have these pages completed. Not only to I want to finish the story, but I'm itching to do some new pages and gauge my artistic growth. These pages were drawn 2 years ago.