The Sketchbook Strikes Back...

Sketch book heads

As an illustrator and visual storyteller, I do tend to both imagine and get excited by full, finished images and at times, it's difficult not to just plough through one painting to another; especially at this time as I feel like I'm finally reaching a stage where I can put anything I want down on paper, and illustrate any idea. Sometimes my head is so teeming with ideas I sometimes struggle to hold on to them all. My studio is littered with A3 sheets with thumbnails of images scrawled across every inch of them.


The down side to this, is that every painting is a marathon, a true venture into a solid, well rounded piece of work, and takes anywhere from 1-5 days to complete. That's alot of time, and a lot of energy on one thing. So to ease my worries about burning out, I've picked up my sketch book once again. I tend to have an on off relationship with my sketchbooks, I go through periods of being very excited about doing quick character studies, or drawing from people in cafés, and sketching little compositional thumbnails of diffrent locations and landscapes I'm visiting but then suddenly I turn to burying myself deep into my client work or full paintings of my own, and leaving my sketchbook, all lonely and dusty, to fend for itself.


As I reach this point in my life and career, I'm starting to realise I have to find more of a balance in all aspects of my life, between work and leisure, between sketching and painting, between activity and rest. So, to this end, I am now making concerted efforts, to incorporate more learning, more exploration time with my sketchbook into my working week.


I'll keep you all updated with how it goes.


This week I started out drawing some little head studies, not worrying particularly about a singular style, or drawing things that fit with my output as an illustrator, this is an excersise in absolute freedom and energy after al, and leans more to character design workl. So I let myself go entirely. The characters above all start life as a squiggle that slowly, I mould and carve into a final design.


I really wanted to home into a subject or group that I could throw around for a while and sketch out a load of different designs for, and really play around with. I'm a big fan of the guys over at who have an abosolutely fantastic blog site, with great resources and everything to do with illustration, I definitely recommend checking them out if you don't know them already, but more importantly they run a weekly illustration event called Illustration Friday, for which they start the week with a topic or theme, and throughout the week, illustrators from around the world put in entries for the enjoyment of their readership. It's great, and since last week's theme was 'Kings', I just went with that, and had a play around.


Just to change it up towards the end of the week, I also sketched out some King Hunter designs as well. Check them all out below.


It's been a while since I worked traditionally, for maybe 5 months now, I've been working exclusively on my computer, from sketch to finish, so it's a little strange not to beable to move things around or hit undo. However, the major plus is that it hones my clarity of thought and decision making. If you're just getting going with drawing, here's some useful info for you... As with all my drawing, I'm looking mainly for full body gesture and attiude, expression of thought or emotion in the face, big clear shapes first and straight lines against curves. If people are interested, I can maybe develop some posts on these ideas in the coming weeks, but there's tons of great resources for that type of material, take a look at Andreas Deja's Disney archive blog at Deja View, and the collected notes of the wonderful Walt Stanchfield, which you can buy at any good bookshop or might possibly find online, if you look in the right place :)

King character studies

As always, if you've made it down here, thanks for taking a look at my work, I hope you got something from it. Let me know if there's something you'd love to see me talk about on my blog here, as I'm always looking to help where I can.



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