Sunday Night Sketch-a-thon

Last night on my twitter I sent out a tweet asking people to suggest things for me to sketch. I’ve been thinking of doing this for a while, so with the New Year as an excuse and no motivation to do, um, real work, I thought I might as well get my rusty drawings hands a bit of a work out. I got six suggestions, and though it took me until 2 am I got them all done. Here they are, in the order I was asked, and the order I drew them.

ghost doll
@cynduja asked for “a ghost doll” — I suppose I could have cheated and presented a blank page, then said the ghost was invisible, but this came out instead. I’m generally happy with the face and the somewhat awkward pose, but since drapery is my achilles heel I drew none on this doll when I would have quite liked to.

amitabh bachchan being pecked at by a woodpecker
@jun6lee requested “Amitabh from his Mohabbatein avtaar getting his head chipped at by a woodpecker” — um, okay. My unfortunate skew while drawing is most apparent here (look at this beard) which I really need to work on, and the bird is rushed, rushed rushed, but overall I’m happy with it. Celebrity caricatures were never something I was interested in, but this at least looks vaguely like the celebrity in question.

doodherman and udderrwoman
@SudhishKamath wanted “DPs for @Doodherman and @Udderrwoman” — I did not, as initial impulses will dictate, want to make the woman with Attack boobs (or is that Attack udders). I suppose the milk-can on the guy’s head is an homage to every kid who’s repurposed household vessels as helmets.

Drawing wise this too has the dreaded skew, and I really need to learn some anatomy instead of this cut-and-paste pieces of shorthand approach that I currently have. It works, but in very, very limited ways.

stylised owl
@thedilettante wanted “Stylised owls!” Well, here’s One. Of all six sketches this is the one I like the most, even though I went a bit overboard and unthinking with the grey brush pen on the background. It does’t look half as bad the morning after, which is some consolation, but for a moment there I thought I’d ruined the whole damn thing. The owl itself has some personality — albeit generic — which is good.

dj badger
@electrocowbellrequested “a DJ badger.” Of all of these this was the quickest sketch, and it shows. Not exactly happy with it, but it gets the job done, I guess.

five polar bears
@Kazarelth‘s request was the most complex: “Five polar bears playing a card game underwater wearing frilly panties and enjoying a nice glass full of oxygen.”

So I did that. I think the composition could be much tighter, and the drawing too, but I’m happy with the stylisation on the bears, and may re-do this as a proper illustration one day.

Well, that’s it. I would like to do this again, and maybe even make it a regular thing. It certainly helps to get those illustration brain cells and muscles working.

Watchmen Doodles

A couple of Watchmen doodles I did the other day. My megaproject to redraw the entire Watchmen graphic novel has stalled. I could blame everything from the economic crisis to the crisis of not being able to draw well, but really it was the good old Crisis of Infinite Procrastination. I will get back to it but I need to think about a better, faster way to tackle it. As it was going I was obsessing about it too much and not enjoying myself. No sense doing something entirely non-commercial, that will never see public viewing, and not have any fun doing it, right?

So, a couple of fun doodles, quickly coloured (but since this is me, it took the better part of a day to color these in).

BTW, you can click on the Class of 1985 pic, or indeed right here for a 1600×1000 wallpaper version.


Norton and Fenroy’s Most Excellent Used Book Dealership

Savant Booksellers SketchThe further illustrated (and mundane) adventures of Mister Savant! Still after books, this time he seems to be negotiating the price on a tome. Typical, the man is so obsessed with cheap and obscure paperbacks when he should be trying to get his hosts to part with their hats!

This drawing started off in my 15x18cm notebook with a vague idea in my head late one night, and so I ended up tackling it a little differently. I didn’t thumbnail or roughly draw in the entire scene, instead finishing the pencils on one character entirely and then moving onto the next.

The result is apparent (to me at least); the quality and styles of the figures vary wildly. Savant (back to us) was drawn in first, hence the lines are tentative and ‘noodly’, lacking definition. The short man (is it Norton or Fenroy, I haven’t decided) came next, and by now I was warming up and starting to have some fun; the snow globe hats, for instance, were a last second addition. The pink fairy was next, and since her pose was somewhat unconventional the lines are a bit uneven here too, although I’m happy with the way she turned out.


In order to fill the rest of the space I wondered if I should perhaps draw in some background material such as stacks of books or shelves, but since I’m not very comfortable drawing backgrounds (and I’d already drawn more than enough books in Mister Savant’s Stupid Quest for the Book Whose Name He Simply, Well.. Forgot!), I decided a couple more figures might fill in the page nicely. I had the most fun drawing these two figures, namely the tall man and Sophie, and I think it shows. The lines are the most confident here. Indeed, the visual difference between Savant and Sophie makes me a bit uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to rub it out and start over. It’s only a sketch!

The second fairy was added in as an afterthought as I had by then decided on having no background elements whatsoever, and to put in some kind of chandelier or something in that space to balance the composition would have seemed out of place.

As usual with my sketches, I left in the construction lines. I scanned it in and coloured it in GIMP; just a simple flat colour pass and one for adding in dodge/burn highlights and shadows. Not the most elegant job I’ve done (probably has something to do with the fact that I only used fuzzy round brushes) but satisfactory.

I like doing these Savant sketches. They’re a lot of fun and even as I completed this one I thought up a bunch more to do. I like them even more when they have a bit of colour on them. I’ve mostly always been a black-and-white sketch person, leaving colour for more finished pieces, but I’m starting to see its merits even in quick work. Also it’s one more place to practice colour theory and hone my skills.

I think that on the next ones I should definitely ‘rough in’ the scene before going to finished pencils to avoid those awkward style changes. Im not practiced or proficient enough a cartoonist to even have a style yet, so I should remember that warmup time is needed.

Oh, and next time I promise he won’t be doing anything boring.