Photoshop Painting Catchup #14: The Duck Wizard

Prompt: 

  • Name: Oliver Drake
  • Race: Duck. I'm thinking Mallard, but if you think a different breed would work better go for it.
  • Height: 10", Weight: 2.4 lbs
  • Outfit: Wizard hat, goggles and spell component pouch.

I'd try to explain this one, but there really is no explanation beyond the prompt. Because isn't that enough?

But in talking with the poster, some interesting details came out. It seems that the duck-wizard has a familiar. And it's a cat. Who has to carry Oliver's component bags.

And does the cat hate that his master lives in a swamp? Why yes, yes he does.

Some design notes: The center of gravity on waterfowl gives them a very particular stance and sway that is just a pleasure to draw. They stand a little like some physical comedians do–like you'd better keep an eye on them or you might miss the punchline. Of course this wobbly body feel is in sharp contrast with their heads, which are held with catlike poise and dignity at all times. And nothing is funnier than a ridiculous character that takes themselves too seriously.

 I did totally forget about the goggles on Oliver in the second painting, but it's easier to read his facial expression (such as it is, with a beak) without them. 

I threw in some details on the cat that I thought were interesting, and relevant to character-building: He's a polydactyl, and his tail is a little... short.

Artistically, the most interesting thing here for me is the shadows in the second painting. Shadows have always been difficult for me, so I tried out something new this time: I simply duplicated the character color layers and distorted them. This isn't a perfect solution, but it's far better than drawing the shadows by guesswork!

Just for fun (and because I don't think I show enough of my process sometimes) here are some other sketches of Oliver- no digital manipulation other than bumping the contrast a bit. This is pretty much what my pencil drawings look like.


Photoshop Painting Catchup #12: Skyfire

Prompt:

  • Skyfire resembled a normal blink dog, but as we're almost epic level, he's partially fused with a dead deity's (homebrew deity called Set-Osir, a good-aligned death god associated with the moon, and appeared to his people as a ghostly white jackal.) power. His fur is now glowing white with a full silky tail, with bright blue eyes. He wears a long silk-like scarf that is flame-colored. Skyfire is very kind and gentle and caring, and like all blink dogs, he's lawful good.

I'm going to share something unsurprising with you: I love animals.

I particularly love dogs. I've spent a lot of time with them, and I've come to the conclusion that they are a species full of zen masters.

Sure, there are some anxious ones, and some needy ones. But if their needs are met, and they aren't damaged by circumstance, they have an amazing ability to both live in the moment and draw happiness from simply existing.

With Skyfire, I knew that I somehow needed to convey that lesson-by-example, that joy, that dogs are trying to teach us all the time. Because it is the kind of lesson a god of death would try to teach.

And on a practical level, I was intrigued by the challenge of drawing a character that is a light source. (The requestor mentioned in discussion that the character's 'glow' had occasionally been a problem during gameplay–makes it hard to hide!) I had to think ahead of how that would work, but I think I nailed it: Ferns behind and under him are lit, and the ones in front of him are no more than silhouettes.

What I did not nail was the scarf. I wanted it to feel a little heavy instead of gauzy, but it came across stiff instead. I clearly have to work on draping, and research how that works with different weight fabrics.

Photoshop Painting Catchup #11: Cacia

Prompt!

  • Name: Cacia Martinus-Laurel
  • Occupation: Bounty Hunter
  • Race: Sabei - basically anthropomorphic wolves (like wolfkin).
  • Notable Features: 22 years old, 5'9" with an athletic build. Her appearance is based on the red wolf: thick russet-colored fur with brown and black patches on her face and tail and gleaming orange eyes.
  • Equipment: Wears light grey carapace armor under a half-sleeve leather jacket with navy cargo pants. No shoes. She wears fingerless spiked gauntlets, keeps a highly advanced plasma pistol in a holster on her belt, and carries a glaive.

Anthropomorphic animal warriors are always a good way to get my interest–put her on a space station, and you have my attention.

love this background and setting. I've shied away from doing gritty machinery before, but this time I decided to find some reference material and go for it. I am slowly learning that the details of the machinery are important, but the color palette and shadows are the key. And I can do color and shadows.

In retrospect, do wish I'd toned down her armor shine a bit more, or at least roughed it up. Every time I use the dodge tool, I wind up with this problem- patches of what looks like over-exposure.

Having the character stepping through a submarine-style hatch really sets the scene, and conveys the claustrophobic feeling I imagine one would have on a spaceship. Which also gives me a nifty excuse to not have to draw her glaive. She's smart enough not to bring a swinging weapon into a tight space!

Steampunk Character Creation Walkthrough

corset1.jpg

I had never used a character generator before, and it seemed to me that it was past time. This painting brought to you by:

 https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/character-generator

https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/character-generator

When I ran it, I rolled:

A selfish mechanic hmm? Also, how am I supposed to have a mechanic with a rifle, I need those hands to be holding tools to indicate she's a mechanic! Although I like that this doesn't specify gender anywhere.  I could have drawn a men's corset.

But I didn't. I like the trope of the female mechanic too much. Two tries at sketching resulted in this. It's not bad, but there are several 'I'll have to look this up later' items: I know skirts can be hiked up with little rings on straps, but I'm not quite sure how that works. And I know that little victorian shoulder-shawls exist, but I can't really remember how they fasten. Ditto those high boots with the little buttons. And I know I'm going to need some reference for that shoulder/arm position, and for the cat. 

Behold, reference. Two interesting things: the good trigger safety on the arm reference, and the stark difference in modesty in women's steampunk attire. Both of these things are good little details to use to add specificity and depth to a character.

First, I drew the parts I absolutely needed the references for, and then rotated and tweaked what I'd inked until I thought it fit reasonably on the vague idea I'd sketched.

These heavily reference lines were then desaturated to the same level as my original sketch, so I could see them all together at the same intensity, creating a franken-sketch. Over the top of that  I re-sketched everything with an eye towards adding detail and making design decisions. For example, the shawl has been nixed in favor of a collared shirt, mainly because I had the idea to give her a mechanical arm, and work out how to show it well under a shawl. 

Once the 'ink' is done, it is desaturated to become the new sketched layer, and the old sketched layers are removed. Ahh. Now I can see what I'm doing.

Then, we do it again. This is the actual ink layer, or the beginnings of it anyway.

Flip, and finish inking. If I had one general 'pro tip' for drawing, the horizontal flip would be it. It's an extremely simple and easy way to instantly see your mistakes in proportion, balance, and flow. This one actually had very little in need of adjustment, although I (as always) had to reduce the legs to some kind of reasonable proportion. I'm not sure where this conviction that legs are 2/3rds of a person's height came from, but I know I'm not the only one with this kind of consistent WTF when it comes to proportion.

Now to the fun part: color. On a layer under the lines, use a basic palette (three or four colors arranged from darkest to lightest is a good limit. For a good mix of color, I like to pull my values from reference ) and lay out the most basic of color areas; highlights and shadows. This is your underpainting.

Put another layer on top. Using the eyedropper tool and a 50% paintbrush, soften the edges between your basic colors, and do some detail of highlights and shadows.

More layer, more detail. See the difference in the blunderbuss and mechanical arm from the last progress image to this one?

Once you're happy with your color distribution, erase everything outside the lines. You can still modify past this point if you like, but I've found that tends to be needlessly fussy rather than helpful.

And if you've read through this far, thanks for sticking with me. I know, it was a long one. Which is why I'm stopping here, and not going into how I did the background! :D (Hint: It was basically the same process, but much less interesting, because it was mostly pipes.)

Photoshop Painting Catchup #10 Hecuba

A return to one of my old favorite subjects: A sexy lady.

Now, a nearly naked female spellcaster isn't exactly a rare subject in a fantasy setting, but there was one little detail in the description which nabbed my attention: She's barefoot. This is wildly unusual. Sexy women of any genre are practically always depicted in high heels* whether it fits the character or not. Hecuba's barefootedness says something about her personality, and makes a hell of a lot more sense than heels would.

Prompt:

I would really like to see one of my favorite characters brought to life! She's been in play for almost ten years and has reached legendary status.
Hecuba... [is] a beautiful, voluptuous, mostly semi-naked and self-assured woman in her early twenties. Absolutely stunning and captures everyone's attention - she's got 32 in charisma. She's barefoot and graceful. Ice blue eyes, long flowing black hair and wearing only a very skimpy bronze bikini taken from a succubus. A thin and exquisite waist chain gives her extra strength. A small but deadly looking dagger is at her hip. Her favorite spells are fireballs and Meteor Swarm.

I've spent a long time pushing myself to learn my way around color, detail, and realism. Returning to this flowing black and white style which is so much more intuitive to me is unbelievably relaxing. Not only is it loads faster, it allows me to pull clever tricks to avoid hard bits. For example, by making the boundary between her hair and cape indefinite, I've saved myself the trouble of actually deciding exactly how her cape attaches and exactly how her hair falls. 

Of course, the style also causes some problems- it's particularly bad at depicting a lightsource, or any kind of transparency. So my wonderful plan of showing off Hecuba's casting ability by holding a ball of shining power in her hand is a bit of a dodgy proposition. I pulled it off by using a few conceptual tricks I learned from watching anime: first, explosions are typically shown with radial spikes on the outside, but a smooth inside edge. This seems to convey force, expanding energy. Second, if something is backlit by a very strong light, it's slimmed down- or in the case of this hand, made to look almost skeletal. Which has the added benefit of making Hecuba look just a bit scary.

* An exception to this rule is Salma Hayek's character in the movie 'From Dusk 'till Dawn.'  Quentin Tarantino's got a teeny bit of a foot fetish.

Photoshop Painting Catchup #8

There was a nice complete prompt on this one:

Entropoly (Also known as Polly) is an Unseelie Fae bard. She's 4' 6" with dark red butterfly wings, a black corset, red pants, and a large red jacket over it. Her ears are pointed and pierced, her eyes are black without pupils, iris, or whites, and she is a fan of outlandish make up. She'll often glamour herself to have a gaping, toothy maw to scare others and other things like that. She plays a violin (she has numerous, from simple ones, to blue ones, to ones made of living wood and spider silk strings). Her hair is a blue and black mohawk that hangs over her eyes and is tied in a ponytail on the back.

I love everything about this. A classical musician punk fairy? Oh yeah.

Nothing too new in the figure painting here, although I did play with brush settings a bit, making the stroke edges much less clean and obvious. The pose is the most interesting part of the figure. I chose a very difficult pose because: I wanted to showcase the wings, and I really, really didn't want to try to draw a foreshortened violin.

The new thing is the background. I wanted something that was reminiscent of casting a spell, without being too obvious. This tutorial produced excellent results. I'll definitely be looking for an excuse to play with this more. 

Photoshop Painting Catchup #7

The seed for this post was actually a direct request- someone saw my work, and was hoping that if they asked nicely, I might do something for them.

So, of course, I did. (I'm a sucker for good manners on the internet.) This character's name is Settaja, and he has a fairly serious case of orc-related PTSD.

As you can see, something important has happened between the last painting and this. I did two things differently.

First, I allowed myself to have lines this time, but I did them in a very specific way. Using the darkest and lightest colors from the immediate area, I outlined the bright and shadowed sides of forms I wanted to pop out. For the arms, this means a pale pink is on the most brightly lit side, and a dark brown is on the shaded side. I like this technique a lot, and I suspect you will see it again.

Second, I've actually figured out what 'contrast' means in practice. I think somehow trying to make him obviously mentally unbalanced made it easier to have a major range from light to dark.

Other aspects of this painting I want to make note of:

Composition. Again, because of the unbalanced and dangerous nature of the character, I stepped outside of my comfort zone to take a low viewing angle. This also allowed me to have an easy background, and I am pretty much ecstatic that my experimental tree technique turned out so well.

Scars: There are scars all over his forearms from self-harm. Scars are hard– these are too subtle, but they don't look fake or drawn-on, which is a victory.

Border: Technically, this picture didn't need a border. But somehow it looks a lot better with one. I'm going to have to ruminate a while on why that is. 

Photoshop Painting Catchup #6

Inattentive-Drow.jpg

The title for the request which sparked this piece was 'An Inattentive Drow Factotum', which caught my eye. Mostly because I had no idea what that was supposed to mean.

Turns out, a factotum is basically a geek. As for inattentive, the poster intended his character to be naive, wildly intellectually curious, and completely unfamiliar with the above-ground world. 

Regarding painting technique, for once my blank-box background is fairly character-appropriate. I assume that for this guy, the rest of the world greys-out when something grabs his attention.

The pose is acceptable, but only just that. I'm still pleased though because I chose a pose that made sense rather than one that was easy. And doing 'okay' on a difficult pose is still something to be happy about.

The colors in general are a bit too fuzzy and non-specific. It does have enough of a range from light to dark, but the transition is too smooth. It could really use more hard edges, more like the hair and face. Although I rather do like the effect on the sleeve, it doesn't quite come across as maille, which was the intent.

Photoshop Painting Catchup #5.

After the serious investment of my previous drawing, I wanted something a little faster and less complicated. So we're back to 'isolated character on an inoffensive background, with essentially no composition' for the moment.

Here's what I was working from:

She is tiny sized with blue skin that alternates from dark blue on her back to a lighter shade on her belly and stripes of yellow down her back, tail, and limbs. Her skin is similar in texture and looks to that of a salamander along with having a tail such as one as well. She stands primarily on her hind-legs when not flying and has a similar body type to that of western(not Chinese shrug) style dragons. Her front claws can be used to carry items such as her staff, scrolls, or longspear.
She has a much shorter snout to that of full blooded dragons and has writhing long tentacles sprouting from her scalp. Eyes are as yellow as her stripes. She has long claws and talons and only wears a loincloth as clothing as she has no chest. She also wears various amulets, decorative armbands, and rings.

Welp, I screwed up the lighting pretty hard on this one. Usually for shadows, I duplicate the 'finished product' layer, darken it the one on top, and erase away so that the light bits show through. But with the color distribution this time (light color belly which is supposed to be in the shadowed area) everything just wound up a bit muted. The shadows on the items like the gold are fine, but the skin shadows result in a sort of weird interior glow, rather than an exterior light source. I should have made the shadow layer darker but also a slightly different color- maybe green/brown.

This was also an important learning experience for chilling out and letting my brushstrokes show. The absolute best part of this drawing is the stripes- which show brushstrokes. So I need to really internalize it's okay if people saw you drew it. It doesn't have to have appeared there magically.

On a subject matter scale, I did several little things I think are worth sharing-

Her 'spear' is an arrow. She's about two feet tall, so for her it's a convenient size. Her large gold amulet and bracelet were originally made for humanoids. That's a regular size pendant and ring. She had to make her belt and loincloth herself, because there just isn't much familiar-sized clothing out there. And she's a bit pissed about it, because she's a crap seamstress.

Photoshop Painting Catchup #4

Larger version.

Okay, so before we talk painting technique, clearly I need to give you some context for this... silliness.

A pack of Orcs were captured by the fallen angel Bwana, the one responsible for minotaurs and owlbears. Using the corpse of a captured rabbit, he twisted the orcs, making them somehow more grotesque than they were previously. They thanked their maker, and dubbed themselves "rabi-tork".

That, plus a few details from the poster about weaponry and faces, and this is what happens. It's not my fault. 

Now then, on to business: If you go back and look, something changed since my last painting.

It doesn't have much to do with the nitty gritty of painting. My brushwork is basically unchanged. (Although I did do a little texture experiment with the fur on the legs, it wasn't really worth the amount of effort it took for how it turned out.) I think the real difference is composition. This is a full, of-a-whole piece: Not a figure by itself, and not a subject on a consistent but essentially irrelevant background. Here, things flow together, so the eye makes the rounds of the whole thing.

Part of that is the placement of the components– the mountains and the Rabi-tork themselves. But this is the first time I've really done anything resembling lighting. I try from time to time, but rarely do I actually make myself to a full range from almost white to almost black... While I'm working in color, at least. (Looking back on it now, I do wish I'd been more bold with the highlights on the bodies, but it's not bad.) When working in black and white I have no problem, which is possibly why I haven't been paying enough attention to it in color. 

Mello the Molekin

molekin  

This mole brought to you by morajel over at the character drawing subreddit. He asked for a mole monk, complete with cassock, holy symbol and snow goggles, and I did my best to not make it look like Redwall.

Items of note- doing better with contrast (having a good range from brightest to darkest) in this, but haven't got it arranged well to good effect. The lighting isn't wrong per se, but it just isn't helping anything. It's not dynamic.

I used texture overlay layers here, and I don't think I'm doing it right. The cassock is ...passable. It's clear what I meant to do, I just don't think I did it. The fur texture works better, it really helps the transition on the nose and adds a sort of stumpy fluffiness to the head/neck, but it's not quite as good on the extremities.

I'm pretty proud of my solution for not knowing what the 'holy symbol' was supposed to look like. Though while I enjoy his giant mitt hands, and I think I didn't do them justice. Too flat, and I'm not sure how to fix it. Probably just draw them better in the first place, but ain't it always the way. :D

 

 

Allison in Armor: Photoshop color tutorial

Okay, so 'tutorial' is overstating this a bit. There will be no 'set your brush to 45 percent opacity' in this post.  This is more like a quick tour of my thought process as I'm working, which I hope will be helpful to people with some photoshop skills who just aren't sure quite how this 'painting' thing works. When I get a good art idea, it tends to be because two previously unrelated ideas ran into each other.

In this case, a friend sent me a link to the winner of this year's The Longsword Competition At the World Invitational Tournament. In passing, my friend added that she would like to have a set of that armor for her very own.

Bingo bongo, time to draw my friend in medieval armor.

I had an armor reference, now I needed a pose reference. Enter google, and the nice people at The Medieval European Martial Arts Guild, who have large images of classical european martial forms linked to from their site.  I chose one of the forms, and got to work on a 'blueline' sketch.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 1.33.55 PM

Doing the first sketch in blue makes it easier to pick out the lines I actually want in black later. Also at this stage I began collecting my pallet. Each major color needs at least three (dark, medium, light) constituent colors, although apparently my natural inclination is to choose four. Keep the number of shades to a minimum though, or you'll drive yourself nuts.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 1.35.19 PM

With the black lines completed, I flipped the image horizontally, so that I can see the perspective and proportion mistakes I made in the original sketch.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 2.16.53 PM

Egad. It's always worse than anticipated.

Once the perspective was suitably unfucked, I trimmed down some of the too thick lines and fixed the face up a bit.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 3.16.37 PM

Then, it was time to flip her back the other way and lay down some colors pulled from my reference images. The first layer of color is at full opacity, just trying to vaguely cover large areas. Detail comes later.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 3.28.14 PM

Now that I had color mostly in place, I needed to complicate it a bit. With a combo of the eyedropper tool and a fuzzy brush at half opacity I turned blocks of color into shades of color. Here it is about half-way along, top almost done but the bottom untouched.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 4.09.21 PM

Not too shabby. I took away the lines for a second just to make sure it was going well.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 5.13.35 PM

Then I put the lines back and trimmed the color to fit.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 8.11.44 PM

Of course, it's at this point (too late) that I realize I've got a few lingering structural issues. The thigh armor plates leave an awkward gap under the belt, and the draping around the backside is... subtly wrong. Also the blade isn't consistent enough, and the skin needs some evening out.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 11.06.29 PM

With that about done, it's time to start on the background. I thought putting her in a woodland would be nice. Also since I was planning on fuzzing it out, I thought woods would be recognizable without being too much detail. First, lay out the basic blocking, and put in a row of trunks.

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 3.12.40 PM

Aaand not enough trunks. So I just copied the layer and scaled it up to make a second closer row of trees at a higher saturation. Then I went and found the 'leaf' brush and went to town.

Stage 1:

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 3.13.14 PM

And Stage 2:

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 3.14.22 PM

And now enough guassian blur to make things look less obviously drawn in with a pre-set pen. Some blurring was done with a brush, so that nearer leaves will be marginally less fuzzy.

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 3.14.50 PM

Now for some style: cutting to a frame.

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 3.15.24 PM

Time for the really fun part. Texture! I went and found a metal texture, cut it to fit, and used the overlay function. It pumps up the contrast a bit too, which I kind of like.

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 6.42.32 PM

Texture for everyone!

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 6.53.08 PM

The background gets some texture too, just a little even canvassing to separate it yet further from the figure.

Screen Shot 2013-09-01 at 7.00.04 PM

Background needed a little more separation, so I desaturated it a bit. The last step is to add a bit of key light glow, which helps the figure become more three dimensional. Then it's time to stop fussing, and call it done.

Allison-in-Armor

Stag Beetles

stag-beetles Prompt: Bug Brawl

In one of the many nature documentaries narrated by David Attenborough,  there's a slightly silly scene of beetles battling on a branch. These are not those beetles exactly, but who needs realism when neon orange will do?

The beetles take the business quite seriously of course, but given that they look silly doing it and that the loser is unharmed (he is flipped off of the branch and suffers an extremely long fall, but due to his exoskeleton and low weight he's not the worse for wear) the deadly earnest attitude just makes it funnier.

This is the beginning of the fight, from the point of view of one of the combatants. I wanted to draw from a bug's eye view to show that they consider this serious business. The godlike top down view trivializes the business too much.

Regarding the nuts and bolts: From the start I wanted this drawing to be in a photographic narrow range of focus style, reflecting the bug's priorities in that moment. In retrospect I wish I had used some sort of motion blur, because while the narrow focus does the job of making the picture emotionally immediate it also really immobilizes the whole scene.

The texture on the bugs is wrong, but I'm not sure what would be better. The problem is exacerbated because the texture on the branch and the blobby leaves in the far background are both pretty excellent.  I'll need to find something shinier and less blobby next time.

 

Cityscape

Prompt: This totally awesome highly detailed panorama, which I will have to return to for little vignettes of city life. But at least initially, I wanted to do something that showed more of the skyline. tokyo

 

Aaand I didn't realize until I was all done that in a sunset the gold light is at the *top* of the buildings, and the red light creeps up from the bottom. Oops?

 

Comfy Chair

comfy-chair Prompt: Anthropomorphization. Which doesn't sound like it's a real word, but apparently is. It turned out a bit 'Brave Little Toaster', but that's kind of hard to avoid when you put eyes on furniture and then try to get it to not be creepy.

This one's a bit autobiographical, because we just bought a big sofa-chair thingy. It's huge. And squishy. And occasionally prevents me from getting work done by virtue of its sheer comfyness. The fringed blanket actually exists, although it's usually on the back of the couch. I moved it to give the chair a hairline to help define the face.

On a nuts-n-bolts note: I discovered brush settings. Texture incoming.

 

 

American Pit Pull Terrier

_American-Pit-Bull-Terrier

Mickey: Good dags. D'ya like dags? Tommy: Dags? Mickey: What? Mrs. O'Neil: Yeah, dags. Mickey: Dags. D'ya like dags.. Tommy: Oh, dogs. Sure, I like dags.

- Dialogue from the movie Snatch.

I like dags.

I like dags so much, I wonder why sometimes some people don't like them. At a guess, it breaks down like this.

  • They smell.
  • They can be loud.
  • They need your attention all the time.
  • They'll put anything in their mouth.
  • They're unpredictable.
  • Their behavior, good and bad, is ultimately the caretaker's responsibility.
  • They can be dangerous.

Now, every one except for that last one applies equally to children. Which is probably why most of us like dogs so much.

I thought that with my first entry I'd go ahead and address that 'dangerous' part. American Pit Bull Terriers are only the most recent breed to be considered uniquely dangerous. Before that it was Rottweilers, and before that German Shepherds.

Part of the reason Pit Bulls are considered dangerous is that a Pit Bull bite tends to be a scary bite. A Rottweiler bite is no joke, but a Pit Bull may exhibit 'bully breed' behavior- Which is to say they bite and hold. And shake. And hold. And are not dissuaded by such interventions as being hit over the head with a bat.

Studies are inconclusive, but seem to indicate that the most dangerous breed at any given time is whatever is large enough to bite fatally and popular enough to skew statistics. So really the way to reduce bites from 'dangerous' breeds is to reduce bites overall. Which puts the blame squarely back on people. We need to take dog ownership more seriously, and education about dog psychology needs to be more than a 45 minute show that only dog nuts watch. It's a public health issue.

As much as Pit Bulls have a reputation for being dangerous they also have a reputation for being excellent companion animals, particularly for children. This aspect of their character makes them good therapy animals. They typically don't come across as intelligent on first meeting but that characterization is usually unfair. They have the ability to conveniently ignore whatever isn't important to them (including verbal commands and physical discomfort) which can come across as either stubborn or stupid. While they don't have anything resembling an independent work ethic they are strongly motivated by an eagerness to please. This quality plus strength, endurance and enthusiasm means they are regularly highly trained for use as rescue dogs or service dogs-  professions which don't recruit dumb dogs. Some are stalwart and some are goofy, but they are all a little needy. More so than many other working breeds they need affection and affirmation from humans. They make particularly poor guard dogs because they are usually too friendly with strangers.

On an artistic note, I'll be working on two things with this series- paintings that don't take two weeks, and paintings that don't look like plastic. I'm pleased with this as a first effort... even if that one on the left looks like she's got a screw loose.

 

Dance Party

dance-party1 An update of some really old linework. In the linework I was trying to recapture a bit of the attitude of a certain series of drawings I made in highschool, but add some definition. Turns out that was a bit paralyzing when it came to coloring it, so it sat in the figurative drawer.

But recently I've been really working on this 'colors' thing (you may have noticed) and have managed to uncramp my hand a bit when it comes to getting things just right. I still sort of want to make a background for it, but it's really time to just get this one out of the 'waiting' drawer.

 

Poké-me.

Absolutely awesome prompt from sketchdaily: Draw yourself as a pokemon! Now I will admit, I never actually played pokemon myself (a little too old to have caught that particular wave) but doing a personality portrait of a person by drawing an animal? That's one of my favorite things. Plus the 'evolving' aspect really appealed to me.

Pokeme

Sketchdaily Roundup 4

Prompt: Scene from a Book. Watership Down is sort of a major book for me. It was one of the first books I can remember being read to me, and when I came back to it as an adult I was pleasantly surprised to find that it holds up. It's actually sort of two classically structured myths in sequence: The Journey, and then The War.

This is a scene from the Journey portion, and I won't tell you any more because it's dear to my heart and SPOILIES.

 

Prompt: Self Portrait.

I will explain... no, is too much, I will sum up. I am in the process of doing a moderate personal overhaul, both of physicality and personality. I'm hoping these will be my before and after pics.

Prompt: Insects

I think mantises are cute.

Prompt: Illustrate a Recipe.

I didn't finish it, but I do think it has potential so I may at some point finish it. It's also one of the least intuitive and most difficult prompts I've done to date, so I may not finish it. I may just eat the damn cookies.