Thursday Evening Post

Mystery Girl

Preview for another work in progress!


Not revealing what this one is yet– but there’s a narrative behind it that will be more apparent when the whole illustration is revealed. I’ll give you some hints though– it’s tied to a personal project of mine and is one in a series of many illustrations that will follow which will tell you more about who this girl is.

This is also me practicing faces from my imagination. Don’t be surprised if hers evolves a ton like the last few I did. 😀

For now, Enjoy!

Monday Evening Post

Pillar of Light

Commissioned by: Catherine

Kath3Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Katherdante!

The making of Pillar of Light

There wasn’t a ton of problem solving with this illustration, but there were a few things I had to focus quite a bit on– like finding the right inspiration, making her face more appealing, and figuring out the color.

When Catherine came to me, requesting this commission, I knew right away what direction I wanted to go with it after going over what she wanted. Beautiful woman, goddess of light and life– who better to take inspiration from, than the great Alfonse Mucha? I’ve been a fan of Mucha’s work for many years now, and when it comes to painting beautiful women, I often look to his work for direction, and after getting to know  a bit more about who Katherdante is, this image became my soul source of inspiration.

Alphonse Mucha
Alphonse Mucha

I loved the flowers, I loved the colors, gold and white and the contrast it created, and it just felt right. Catherine and I kept in close contact, going over the illustration in it’s various stages, so I was excited when she approved the colors, esp when it turned out that gold and silver were Kath’s signature colors 😀

The most time consuming part of this illustration was painting the flowers– which consist of, Baby’s breath, White Orchids, and White Lily’s and some other flowers I made up >_<; I managed it by collecting some stock of the different flowers, and I arranged it like a bouquet, around her, before painting them.

Lastly, because I’ve been in the practice of improving my faces– I went back and forth quite a bit between 321 Pinup and Katherdante, apply what I learned to both while it was all very fresh. Much like in 321 Pinup, this animation shows how the illustration evolved during my learning streak.

KathAnimateAs always, Enjoy!

321- Pinup Released!


Yay it’s finally finished! The Article following the making of this Illustration is below

The Making of 321-PinUp — Studying Rockwell

I feel so old saying this, but I remember when the internet wasn’t a thing– at least not in my house! But when we got it– oh boy! I was already a fan of Japanese animation because I grew up watching Toonami which featured shows like Dragon Ball, Speed Racer… Sailormoon- TO WHICH I’M A HUGE FAN!– Sailor Jupiter foreva!!! *Clears Throat* So when we got the internet, those were the things I looked up. Naturally these searches introduced me to other anime like NGE, Tenchi Muyo– and also, Comics. I was fascinated by the photos of comic covers I would find, and in my search I discovered artists J Scott Campbell, and the late great Michael Turner of Fathom Comics. These two artists are the reasons I wanted to become one, and I begged mom to find me a comic store where I could purchase every title with their names on it just to have their art at my finger tips.

I studied Michael Turner’s work in particular, even learned how to draw like him at one point because I was soooo sure that if I became good enough, I’d get to meet him one day, and maybe even work at his side. Mind you I had no idea how comics worked, so that was my idea of things. I was heartbroken when he passed, but the dream was alive in me, and I was determined to figure out how to become an artist like him. The thing is, back then, it wasn’t easy to find tutorials or how toos on the net, so I developed a skill that allows me to pick art apart, by looking at it closely. This is how I learned how to draw, up until college.

Now we live in a day and age where many artist have how toos and tutorials, providing intimate details on the process they follow. What I’m doing here is much the same, only it’s going to be less about how to draw, but more about fleshing out an idea finding the right inspirations, and applying tips and tricks and problem solving. Overall, I’ll be siting sources, dropping names and links to the people and things that help me through the creative process and I hope what I have to share is helpful! With that said, lets get into the making of 321-Pinup, a Study of Rockwell.

Learning from Rockwell

Normally I would have taken a more dynamic approach with pinup, but since I was doing it in Rockwell’s style, and I had limited time, I made a conscious decision to keep this one simple. Fortunately for me, Rockwell has a relatively simple painting style. His compositions are usually straight forward and dead centered, his figures are a bit exaggerated and gestural, which breathes more life into them, and aside from the figures in his paintings, the backgrounds or surroundings have very limited shading– as if the flash from a camera washed out most the shadows and details.

Edge Control

One thing I had to pay attention to, when learning from Rockwell, is his Edge control– which is his ability to manipulate edges to create sharp contrasts between his figures and their backgrounds. Speaking of Edge control, it is an important tool an artist can use to create form, atmosphere and believability.
In general, edges are:
Harder in the light, softer in the shadow
Harder in the foreground, softer in the background
Harder on smooth forms, softer on textured forms
Harder on still forms, softer on forms in motion (on moving forms they are harder on the leading edge and softer on the trailing edge)
Harder at the center of interest, softer as you move away
Read more Here

In Rockwell’s work, you’ll mostly find his figures against a white background. Usually the strongest colors have the harder edges– and the brighter colors, like whites, creams, and grays have the softer edges– so soft in fact they almost blend into the white background. Putting this into practice actually helped me understand how to control my edges better making my work look cleaner. Definitely something I’ll continue to practice going forward.

The Feels!

How you display emotion in your work can be the difference between a nice drawing, and a nice drawing with soul. Faces, particularly the eyes are the most important feature, in my opinion, because of their ability to say so much. I’ve studied a many artists- SakimiChan, Kronprinz, Nebezial— all of which have one thing in common– they can draw some dang good faces full of personality. Body language is the second most important tell of emotion. When I was painting 321-Pinup, the leading lady went through at least 3 changes in her face and body. At first she was stiff, upright and smug, not a very welcoming character to meet coming into a diner. The second one was a bit more loose in her body language, but her face wasn’t quite right. Her stare seemed blank and void of emotion. Overall she was still pretty stiff. Third time’s a charm I guess. She loosened up more, leaning on the counter, and finally I could look at her face and hear her saying “Hey there!” Comparing the 1st draft to the final product, I’m glad I put in the extra work to give these characters some feels! After toiling away for almost a day on the lady’s face, I had learned so much that the guy’s face was a breeze. YAY! progress!!

Work through your Mistakes

I could have gone with a cleaner approach– smoothed everything out to make it look polished, but I deliberately left a sketchiness to it. I call it, showing strokes. In a way I think it adds to the personality of a painting, when you can see where the brush leaves its mark. A tip I learned from Cliff Neilson in one of his workshops, is to try to avoid using the eraser tool, in your digital paintings. Instead, treat it like real paint. If you make a mistake, paint over it, instead of erasing it. The residue it leaves after only adds to it.

There were some things I had to change. The background was altered to be more straightforward. After much consideration I decided the image would be stronger with one light source, and to keep the color pallet simple to mesh with Rockwell’s style. Overall, this was a wonderful experience. I honestly learned a bunch ! To close, I added a little gif, for your viewing pleasure! I’ll try to get better at making these


What’s Up for March

Some of you who have visited my About page or have been following since January, understand that this blog is like my digital sketchbook where I share sketches and works in progress, notes, thoughts and ideas. In addition, this is also where I share the challenges I give myself to help me become a better artist.

There’s a lot of truth to the saying that you are your own worst critic because you can see the flaws in your own work. So I’ve been making a very conscious effort through my challenges to understand my flaws, and learn how to improve upon them so that I wont have to struggle as much in doing the things I find difficult. Instead, I can spend more time bringing my ideas to their highest potential.

That brings us to March, where I will be embarking on a year-long challenge.  Each month,  for 12 months, Ill combine what i learn in other challenges, into a painting based off a photo. Why? so that by the end of the challenge, I’ll be able to compare my progress through a time lapse video, to see how i improved through these exercises.

It took me nearly a month to find the right photo to use for this challenge, but when I saw it, I knew!

Abigail's Garden by Emily Soto
Abigail’s Garden by Emily Soto

This is the photo I’ll be painting every month. I chose it specifically because I want to focus on painting faces, fabric, hands, and depth.

I was so excited when after reaching out to Ms. Soto, she gave me permission to use her photography in my challenge. I explained and I’m making it public here, that I will not be using her image for profit of any kind, and that I would give her proper credits. You can find Ms. Soto through these various links, and see more of her beautiful photography, and you can also click the image for a direct link to it on Deviantart.

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This is a big challenge for me, considering it will be going on for a year. Wish me luck!

321 Pinup Update!

Great news, 321-Fast Comics reached it’s goal on Kickstarter today, and I’m really excited about it!

This illustration was initially being made to help give the kickstarter a push towards the finish line. Fortunately the goal was met, which also means I can take my time with this one.

underpainting3As you can see, this one one has been undergoing some changes too, while I’ve been laying in the colors. Her pose as changed quite a bit, to make her a bit more natural, more loose in her body language to make her curves more appealing. Since most of this is composed from my imagination, coloring her has been particularly hard, but it’s a learning process. I’ve been studying several images to have a better understanding of how light hits the female curves. A time consuming process, but well worth it as it’s finally starting to come together.