Monday, August 20, 2012


Time for a change!

I've had a this blog and a tumblr since the beginning of the year, but having two blogs is kind of a pain, so now I've decided to move all my blogging to my tumblr exclusively. I've changed the layout and added a comment feature to make it a little more flexible:

All my future blogging will be @

I won't be updating here again, so please update your bookmarks/feeds :) See you over there!

Monday, July 23, 2012

PPJ Logo: The Process Report

Last month I did a logo design for Wise Guys events for their game, Pickpocket Junction.  They were submitting the game to a festival and needed the finished product in three days.  I laid out a schedule that could get us to that deadline and we worked together (through e-mail correspondence) to create a logo that would be satisfactory to all of us.  I thought it would be nice to lay out the process of creating their logo as an example of how I work.

On day one, we discussed the kind of design they were looking for and I drew up some preliminary thumbnails in Illustrator (in matching grayscale, so color wouldn't create a bias):

From there, we discussed which designs they preferred.  The center column was the one they decided to go with, though they asked me to incorporate the "floating hat" look seen in the left-column designs. They also suggested adding some train station imagery to better suit the theme of the game.  The arcing arms made a nice tunnel, so in the designs I sent them on day two, I added a train and some tracks:

The train was a hit (it's my favorite part of the logo too!) so after another quick e-mail exchange, we had settled on the elements of the design and just needed to pick the color palette.  They wanted the pick-pocketed items to look like the colored cards used in the game and we discussed how the whole design could reflect those colors as well. These are the color options I sent back later on day two:

The second color palette was my favorite, visually, but we all decided the third choice better captured the old-timey feel the game would have.  I added multiple colored cards to that design to brighten it up a little, which the Wise Guys decided they wanted to see in the final design. 

And here is the final design that I sent them on day three (with my watermark here):
 I wasn't totally happy with how dark the train was, so I changed its colors slightly for the final.  I also cleaned up the train tracks and recolored the cards to the clients' specifications.  Three days turned out to be just enough time to get through the various stages of the process, and I'm happy to report the Wise Guys were very pleased with the final product!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Materials & Process

I answered a question on Tumblr about the materials and process I use in my dailies.  Check it out here!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

So how bout that Wacom Inkling?

By now, everyone's heard about the Wacom Inkling, right?  It's this cool little device that consists of a pen and a little receiver that sits on the top of your page and records your drawings stroke for stroke.  Then you plug it into your computer and it gives you a digital file you can edit in Photoshop or Illustrator.

I thought it might be cool to take on trips since the whole thing takes up less space than my pen and pencil case, so I got one and started playing around with it before our upcoming family vacation.  I'd seen side-by-side comparisons of scans and Inkling files, so I wasn't expecting amazing accuracy.  But I was pleased when the initial test drawings I did with turned out pretty accurate.

Then I tried some larger drawings and had some...rather warped results.  Such as:

Scan vs Inkling: IT'S SCARING ME

But I know what the problem was now!  This should have occurred to me, but as my sketchbook pages are not completely flat (it's not a spiral bound), the receiver was getting confused.  Hence all the jagged and misplaced lines.  I'm guessing I'll have much better luck with using an actually flat sketchpad.

One more comment:  At first I liked that the pen was a ballpoint (I draw with those a lot) but after a few drawings it started to annoy me.  Like all ballpoints, it doesn't always make the line you need on the first try.  But it THINKS it did.  So while the line may be invisible on the page, it'll be there in the Inkling file. For inking pencil sketches this is particularly annoying since it's hard to tell if there are lines missing.  Not sure if there's a good solution for this besides using the software to eliminate the extra lines before exporting (allegedly it can do this, though I have yet to figure it out.)

But I'm taking it on my trip and I'm going to continue to play with it.  It is a very fun piece of technology and I'm not too dissuaded by the drawbacks.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Illustration Friday: "Shiny"

When I watched Lana Del Rey's "Born to Die" video, my take-away was mostly "Wow, her hair is really shiny."  So I did this sketch and watercolor-ed it up for the Illustration Friday theme.

 The likeness isn't that great on this one (I was looking at a bunch of pictures for reference and I think it would have been better if I'd just picked one) but I do like it as a painting.  Just watercolor with some violet pencil on top.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Illustration Friday: Hurry!

I've decided to try my hand at drawing another comic so I've been spending the last few days coming up with a short story and designing characters.  The Illo Friday word "Hurry!" was perfect for this concept, so I did this mono-color watercolor of the main characters:

I thought it turned out pretty cute :)  I posted my preliminary character design sketches to my tumblr yesterday, but they're also here if you missed them.

I'm looking forward to this project!  The working title is "Zombie Day" but don't worry, there are no actual zombies.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Process on Today's Daily

I had this thought that I should take some process pics of today's watercolor.  Unfortunately I was trying to use my phone camera which doesn't have a flash, so they turned out extremely dark.  This took about 3 hours from starting the sketch to finishing but I was working at a very leisurely (read: unfocused) pace.  No hairdryer this time!

Recently I've been starting all my watercolors just painting over the whole sketch with a light color (this was the yellow of the the background) and building up all the colors from there, bit by bit.  I lost track of how many layers of red it took to make the hair look like that, but basically every time I use red in my watercolors I wish I were working with gouache instead ;)  Here's the final from the scanner: