Lepus!

bunnies1.jpgbunnies2.jpgbunnies3.jpgbunnies4.jpgbunnies5.jpgbunnies6.jpgbunnies7.jpg This is why I hardly ever scan raw sketches and post them. In order to see pencil sketches, the contrast and darkness have to be messed with, which makes the scan look kind of like crap. However, I did it in this case because I thought you might like to see what my sketches look like right before I'd go ahead and ink them. Also, to give you some idea of how damn much I draw something when I'm learning it. I haven't tried to draw a realistic bunny in years, which means my ability to draw them trails far behind my ability to draw my 'steady diet' subjects (Y'know. Ladies. Dragons. Swords.) so I have to sit down over the course of a day or two and play catch-up. What's extra-cool about putting all these drawings in order is you can actually see me getting better in strangely abrupt steps. Somewhere on page two I figure out the ears, and a few bunnies later I nail the paws, but it doesn't happen in any sort of balanced or logical way.

And yes, the text on the first page is a list of the main characters from Watership Down, with some physical description pulled from the text.

Watership Down is one of the first books I can remember my Dad reading out loud to me (His memory focuses mostly on keeping all those different voices straight. To paraphrase: 'Damn it, you died fifteen chapters ago! I don't remember what kind of voice you had, but I bet my kid does!') and I think it strongly influences my concepts of epic and hero.

Thlayli is still my definition of Hardcore.

Cariama Cristata Titanus

big-bird-final.jpg The title, and indeed the whole existence of this image can be blamed on Wikipedia.

Once upon a time, I was trying to remember the proper species name for terror birds, the ostrich-sized carnivorous birds that lived in the Americas and probably shared territory and prey with Smilodon. (Smilodon is totally cool enough to deserve its own illustration, and will no doubt receive one at a later date.) By searching for 'terror bird', I found the genus Phorusrhacos. While reading about this group of what I presumed were extinct birds, I found out that there is in fact a living modern relative.

Don't get too excited. They're less than a meter tall.

Seriemas are stalking grassland predators of snakes, frogs, small birds and rodents. They've also been known to eat corn, if they're hungry enough. They are tameable, (Raise it to think it's a chicken, and it'll defend your chickens from snakes) but not domesticated. Also, to quothe Wikipedia, Seriema have an "extensible second claw that is raised from the ground. Although this resembles the "sickle claw" of Velociraptor and its relatives, it is probably not used in the same way."

Probably not? Hot damn!

So I found some pictures of Serimas, some pictures of ostriches, some pictures of people riding horses, and some pictures of Centurian-style armor. The result is entirely the responsibility of Google, Wikipedia, and the internet at large.

Laaady in the Win-dow...

windowseat_sized.jpg Not too much to say about this Lady.

I like the folds in her dress, no matter how unrealistic they may be.

I'm slowly reaching an uneasy truce with feet. I sort of like the one with her shoe dangling off. The other one is a wash.

I'm especially proud of her knees, and the way the legs fold over each other. I can't get my legs to do that in real life...

And I like the framing. Often, I feel that my attempts at framing within the page come across as a bit hamhanded, but this is contextually consistent, and also not annoying.

One of my earliest memories of art criticism is my mother, holding a piece of my so called 'early works'. ( It had an Apatosaurous sized horse, and a couple tiny stick figures. One of them was meant to represent a mom, as she was yelling 'Come down from there right now' and the kid who was riding the horse was yelling back 'No way!' The spelling was somewhat approximate.) My mom was thrilled that the figure projected off the limits of the page, which apparently represented a marker of artistic development. For some reason this resonated with me, and I am still fascinated by methods of framing.

Pretty Colors

piccasine.jpg The base sketch for this image is at least three years old, but I just finished the color yesterday. It wasn't that I forgot about it. The drawing was in my 'to be finished' pile, (which is usually only about ten deep) I just kept choosing other things to finish and put that one back to stew for longer. There are two strange and mostly subconscious processes going on when I treat an in-progress image like that, neither of which I've ever tried to articulate. So here goes:

Aging: It's completely mysterious to me how some drawings age well, and others don't. I can usually tell at the time which ones I will still be proud of (or at least not embarrassed by) in six months or a year, but I have know idea why. I keep them because I still want to finish them. So why don't I go on and just finish them already? See below.

Holding Off: When I hold off on finishing an in-progress that I know is good, it's usually because I think I'll mess it up. Either I was in the zone when I started and now I'm not, or I don't know exactly how it's supposed to go from here. That second is particularly frustrating, because drawing to me feels like a subtractive process, mentally. ( Brief tutorial on art terminology: Additive processes are like acrylic painting or pen drawing. You keep putting indelible things on, and not taking anything off. You may be able to cover mistakes, but you can't erase them. Subtractive processes are like sculpture. When you want to carve an elephant, you get a block of stone and chip away everything that isn't the elephant.) When I draw, the point of greatest potential is after the second stroke of the pencil. The drawing is now something, but the exact nature is still entirely up for grabs. As I proceed, the possibilities narrow. Sometimes, I reach a point of crucial choice, and the available paths are either obscured, or look so good that I can't decide. So I wait. I wait until I either forget the original paths I saw (and then see new ones when I sit down to work on it) or until I learn enough that I can see a substantive difference between my options.

This piece was always going to have bright colors. I knew that before I'd even finished inking it. What I didn't know was the medium. I wasn't confident enough with any colorful medium, and I didn't want to mess it up. So I waited. Eventually I got good enough with Photoshop that I could see that path clearly, and liked the end result my mind suggested. Now, I knew how it was supposed to go. So I went.