Monday, December 5, 2011

Just for fun, let’s draw cute animals

Drawing a Bear in 4 steps:

From Illustration School: Let's Draw Cute Animals by Sachiko Umoto. Part of an adorable series of drawing books. I just adore Sachiko Umoto's charming illustrations and whimsical approach to making cute animals that's simple enough for anyone to follow. Reminds me of the Ed Emberley drawing books I loved so much as a kid.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Warm up Bears

Warm up sketches of polar bears. The bears here range in age from a week to six months. Instead of my standard mechanical pencil, I decided to try a new technique: sketching with blue line pencil, and finishing with Tombow Mono100 pencils. Feels good, and produces a cleaner drawing. I don’t know if I want to start drawing comic pages this way, but I’ll stick with it for sketching.

Speaking of the comic, in case you missed the announcement the first time… I’m currently working on storyboarding The Last of the Polar Bears in its entirety. There will be a big relaunch for LOTPB early 2012, and regular weekly updates. Really exciting stuff planned. I intend to devote the whole next year to my bears! Thanks again to everyone for being so patient with me.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Honey Bear

Honey is a bear-butterfly-lion (a Bearflyon?). My favorite part is her heart-shaped nose. :)
Pencil + coloring in Photoshop CS3.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Percy the Vogue Ferret

 Here's a new ferret character I designed, done in my Peach Fuzz-style. It took a minute to return to the cute bubbly style of my Peach Fuzz series, but after some warm up sketching, it came back to me, and so fun to do! Cel style coloring is also a joy.

He's based on The Vogue Ferret's real life ferret, Percy, seen here napping in a hammock.

 A sable like Peach, she would probably like this charming fellow (look out, Edwin, there's competition)!

Here's the conceptual sketches for Percy's look and pose:


Found a crazy looking moth outside. Kinda looks like a monster out of a fantasy RPG.

Here's another angle. Any moth experts able to ID him?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prehistoric Surprise

While prepping my Boy with Gator illustration series for publication in a book, I found a hidden layer with surprise dinos!

(Original version can be seen here.)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Down in Fraggle Rock

The Fraggle Rock: Tails and Tales graphic novel is now in bookstores! The anthology includes a comic and back cover illustration drawn and colored by me. Hardcover, 128 full color pages. For readers of all ages. Photos below courtesy of my cousin, Chandra Free, whose own Fraggle Rock comic appears right beside mine in the book! :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Weird Paw Prints

 Nanook discovers paw prints in the snow not belonging to him or his sister.

An illuminated panel from The Last of the Polar Bears pg 31. See the full page here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Snow Slide

Stella turns the arctic landscape into her playground. Wheee! :heart:

An illuminated panel from The Last of the Polar Bears pg 30. See the full page here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Foxes in Motion

Studies of Arctic foxes and red foxes. It’s a lot easier to find video reference of red foxes than it is arctic foxes, probably because they’re more abundant and much likelier to occur in areas inhabited by people, so most of these sketches are of the red variety.

While there are numerous differences between the red fox and the arctic fox, they serve as a decent substitute for studying fox motion. Plus, having much less fur, it’s easier to make out the body structure on red foxes. Arctic foxes look like white puffballs in their winter coats.

More studies of red foxes and arctic foxes. The first page looks at motion and posture, while the second page focuses on muzzles.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fraggle Rock Character Sketches

These are some Fraggle character sketches I did a few months back to try out for the Fraggle Rock comic series currently being published by Archaia Entertainment / Jim Henson Company.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fraggle Rock Cover - Coloring Step-by-Step

Recently, I did a cover illustration for the Fraggle Rock comic series. When I do large illustrations like this, I like to track my coloring progress through a series of iterative save files in Photoshop. This allows me to experiment without worry, knowing that I’ll be able to go back to an earlier version if I make a mistake. An additional benefit of doing iterative saves is that once the image is finished, I have the a step-by-step process that I can then share with you.

Here’s my coloring process on the Fraggle Rock cover from start to finish:

1) I start by scanning my clean pencil line art into Photoshop CS3 at 600 DPI. I use Brightness/Contrast, Replace Color, and the eraser tool to remove any stray lines or graininess. Sometimes I’ll leave some graininess for texture. Then it’s ready for coloring!

2) Once the line art is prepared, I reduce the file to the required output size for publication. (In this case it’s 10in.x10in. at 400dpi.) Then, using a “Hard Round” Brush (100% hardness, 100% roundess) in Photoshop CS3, I begin blocking in the basic colors and shadows, feeling out the mood and color scheme for the illustration. The cave sets in Fraggle Rock come in a rainbow of colors and lighting schemes, so my palette choices were pretty much unlimited. After some deliberation, I decided that a glowing blue interior chamber would be the perfect backdrop for the mystical and mysterious minstrel, Cantus. From there, I decided to play off the blue with yellow cave walls.

3) I continue building up the Fraggle characters, background, and foreground elements with additional shadows and highlights. At this point, I also start layering texture on the walls using a custom brush with grainy speckles. I’ll apply the textures a shade lighter or darker than the surface color, or sometime different colors altogether for extra “oomph”, and then soften the effect by lightly painting over them with the Hard Round brush. I frequently use this custom speckle brush  in The Last of the Polar Bears for the den walls and snow.

 4) Don’t be afraid to make changes midway through the process! (Do be sure to make backup saves, though!) I started to wonder if the red and brown shadows of the cave walls were too eye catching, and experimented with painting over them with a neutral blue. Experimentation can sometimes lead to fantastic, unexpected results, but in this case, it just helped me realize that the previous colors were fine, and that I needed to just keep going. I discarded this iteration and went back to the previous version.

5) I continued working up the shadows and highlights and refining colors. Once I get to this stage, I focus in on an area, and work my way up from background to foreground, finishing sections as I go. Here you can see Gobo is very close to complete, while work on Cantus hasn’t yet begun.

 6) And here’s the finished illustration!

Fraggle Rock Vol. 2, Issue 3 comes out later this year at comic book shops everywhere (visit to find a local comic shop near you). In addition to the Cover B illustration, the issue also includes a short comic about Uncle Traveling Matt illustrated by me. Be sure to pick up a copy! :)