Outside of My Comfort Zone…In Sketches

Earlier this week, I updated my blog with the following warm-up sketch:

warm up sketch of nautilus and riley, original characters

I then looked at it and went, “Man, I need to practice more variety in body shapes and types!”

That prompted me to sketch THIS:

warm up sketch of galileya, original character

Her name is Galileya. She’s an agent of a super secret organization that destroys planets and does other intergalactic missions. I want to write a story about her and her coworker, Agent Sinclair:

Agents Sinclair and Galileya
Agents Sinclair and Galileya

The problem is I have no story for them that has anything resembling a plot. So they’re still a work in progress.

Back to this week.

After I drew Galileya, I was like, “But man, I need to practice drawing things that aren’t people! What can I draw?”

Well, one morning my cat was on my bed, grooming herself. So I got out my sketch pad and my ink brush, and got to work:

warm up sketches of cat grooming

That was tricky to do, since she kept moving on me.

I should probably just wait until she holds still, like this:

gray cat bree bree

BUT EVEN THAT IS FLEETING BECAUSE CATS DO WHATEVER THEY WANT.

So I went, “Dude, I gotta practice drawing things that hold still! But I’ve drawn most of the objects around me twenty times. What’s new on Pinterest that I can use as a reference?”

I found this image:

If you took this picture, please let me know so I can give you credit!

And I went, “PERFECT! I need to practice landscapes so I don’t have crap that looks like this”:

JamieRobertsEnvirons1

So I took the reference image above and drew this (with some artistic license in rendering certain things):

landscape practice sketch from reference

 

I still want to practice landscapes and environments, though. Because

a) It would make my current comics projects even better, and

b) the projects I have in mind for the future are sci-fi/fantasy works that require a LOT of visual development and technical know-how, which I don’t have a lot of yet.

So what do you draw for practice? Let me know in the comments below! And if we keep the conversation going, I think we can find new things for us to practice drawing so we don’t get too comfortable.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on Tuesday.

P.S. I actually drew MORE than this stuff this week, but those other sketches are exclusive to Patreon subscribers only. If you’re interested in supporting what I do, go to Patreon! There are tipping plans for as little as $1 a month.

Also, I am aware that the Patreon page is under Christian Beranek’s name. It’s our joint effort under the umbrella of Validation. Any money raised there is split evenly between the both of us so we can both keep producing the comic.

If you want to go the more direct route or support my other work, there’s also a tip jar over at Johnson & Sir‘s page.

Ok, that’s it for now! For real this time!

Youmacon Fast Approacheth

So in my hurry to get ready for Youmacon and also keep afloat on commissions I’ve been asked to do, I…lost track a little with Johnson & Sir. I missed an update last week. But rest assured! It’s back to a normal update schedule now! You can read the new page here.

Here’s a preview to further entice you:

johnson and sir page 61 promotional panel for webcomic

I’ve also been working really hard on my new webcomic Charlie & Clow…

And it launches tomorrow! Read it at its own website. It even comes with a surprise!

charlie and clow header image bar
This is not the surprise I’m talking about. This is just to show off a taste of what’s to come.

And in other product-launching news, Validation is now on Patreon!

patreon screencap

In case you haven’t heard, Patreon is a voluntary subscription service where you can donate as little as $1 a month to your favorite creators. In exchange you get gratitude and really cool perks! Christian and I would really appreciate any support you can give over at Patreon (and if you’re broke, spread the word on social media! That helps, too).

In even more product-launching news, I added a new listing at my store: Avengers Assemble! In bookmark form, of course:

avengers assemble in bookmark form, available for sale
Click for fuller view.

If you’re interested in ordering a set, click here.

The rest of this week, I will be MIA, as I’ll be with my family and then immediately going off to Youmacon. I won’t be a special guest there, but I’ll be attending (probably in costume). I hope you can find me!

As such, I won’t be updating on Friday like I usually do, because I’ll be either on the road or at the con. So you’ll see another update on this blog next Tuesday!

In the meantime, I’ve got comics for you to read: Validation on Mondays and Thursdays, Johnson & Sir Tuesdays, and now Charlie & Clow Wednesdays! So there you go.

Vlogs, Caricatures, and Comics

So you might have noticed I haven’t been posting vlogs for the past two weeks.

Part of this is: the footage I’ve got doesn’t interest me, and if it doesn’t interest me, you would probably like it even less so. The other part is: nothing of value is really being talked about, and I want to change that.

I was thinking of vlogging more about comics and art books, but I want to know what you think. What should I do with the vlog series?

Talk about comics? Answer questions from readers of Validation and Johnson & Sir? Show how I make comics? Or something else entirely?

On the topic of making things, this weekend I spent some energy getting a caricatures portfolio together. Here are some of them I got finished:

Caricature2014_1web
This guy did a TED Talk, but I missed his name. He talks about learning new skills with 20 hours of practice.
Caricatures2014_2web
Brad Pitt playing Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglorious Basterds.
Caricatures2014_3web
Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Caricatures2014_6web
…and some woman I spotted in a shopping catalog. I wanted to exaggerate her hair because it was ridiculous.

 

I haven’t drawn caricatures in about a year, so they’re not the best ones I’ve ever made. I’m also hoping to beat my personal record of drawing a black and white caricature in under 1 minute 30 seconds. The only way to do that is PRACTICE.

“Why are you making caricatures?” You’re asking, no doubt.

Because 1) I miss doing them, and 2) I want to get more gigs drawing caricatures at parties and conventions so I’m not so reliant on one stream of money coming in.

There’s nothing wrong with making comics for a living.

As a matter of fact, I’m psyched and so ridiculously lucky to be able to make money drawing comics.

Like Validation, which is still going strong. We even picked a winner of our Facebook giveaway and I gave stickers and a signed print! And you still like what we do, which is just icing on the absolutely delicious cake of luck.

While I’m on the topic of comics, The Legend of Jamie Roberts is going pretty well! The plan got pushed back a bit more, though: I’ll begin making pages in March, but launch won’t happen until late March or the beginning of April.

The Legend of Jamie Roberts is being pushed again (not by much, though) because I still need to finish up the scripts. I’m halfway through the story, if not more. And I want to make sure that I know where the story is going before I start making pages.

That, and I’m redesigning their costumes.

JamieRobertsNewCostume
This is my favorite design so far, but I think I’ll change it again. The idea is she’ll be adding more to her costume as she travels through Corith.

Even though the sketch is black and white, the plan is to make the comic in color. I’ll be sharing colored sketches more as I work on the story.

That’s all for now, so back to the drawing board for me!

P.S. Have you heard of Patreon? It’s a voluntary subscription service to support creators. I’m thinking of getting an account on there. What do you think?