Above are the inks for a warm-up sketch featuring the diabolical Dr. Doom. His costume, complete with mask and flowing cloak, have always had a ton of visual appeal for me. Below, more process work: -Krishna
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In this video, I discuss line of action, pinch and stretch, and the two can technique for drawing characters with an attitude.
No process work. Just feels. We finally saw Big Hero Six this morning, and I felt compelled to draw Baymax. I mean, how could I not? Here he is, with his hug buddy Bob, from my comic strip PC Weenies. -Krishna
I embarked on taking this composition in a more experimental direction. I wanted to mimic the old mis-registered prints from movie posters and wrap it up in a loving tribute to Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu. I wasn’t happy with the initial pencil rendering of Fu Manchu, so I scrapped it completely and started over again. After performing a grayscale test, I realized that what was missing was highlight values. So I added them in. Here’s the first pass grayscale test. And the second pass, with the highlights added around Shang’s muscles and face. Finally, here’s the finished piece.
I’m finally on the “Youtubes”, after a very long hiatus. This is the first of (I hope) many tutorial videos with a focus on cartooning and illustration. Let me know what you think, and what additional cartooning topics you’d like me to consider. -Krishna
This was another background design exercise using Photoshop and the lasso tool. It took me about 30 minutes to create the finished piece. And in the process, I developed a much better grasp of Photoshop’s mask tool. Experimentation is the key to learning! Monochrome version: Final version: -Krishna
As a kid, I lived for “The Creature Double Feature”, a 4 hour block of horror movie programming on Channel 56 in Boston, Massachusetts. It was this program that introduced me to a myriad of horror characters, including the Mummy, Frankenstein, the Wolfman and, of course, the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Having never really drawn this character before, I was eager to sink my teeth into it. I wanted to something different with the composition. Instead of the Creature carrying off a helpless damsel in distress, I chose a different route altogether. Pencils for the creature and his gal, […]
The original box art: My take, with some noticeable tweaks to crop the image into a square. And a vintage “well used” version of the same cartridge box.
The layout from my previous blog post was used as an underdrawing for my pencils. Pencils and inks were both created in Manga Studio. Colors and text were added in using Photoshop. It was important for me to pick a typeface that would add context to the game. I needed a typeface that would evoke the feeling of “Haunted House”. Using size and line height, I modified the “House” text to keep it aligned with the word “Haunted” above it. The red rings were added at the very end to reinforce the focal point and create movement around the composition. […]
Imagine that Atari was bringing back the classic 2600 console, with a retro format (cartridges) but enhanced graphics and gameplay. That’s the premise for a project I assigned to my Concept Art and Design class this quarter. Each student was randomly assigned one of 18 classic Atari 2600 games. I opted to participate in this activity with my students, selecting Haunted House from the draw. First off, here is the original box art. As was the practice that time, the cover art was a very broad design meant to evoke what the game *should* have been like. Given the limited […]
Modern vehicles may have all the tech, but the cars of old have a certain distinct look that makes them beautiful in my eyes. (They don’t make cars like they used to.) For as long as I can remember, I have always dug the Volkswagen Beetle. Maybe because its shape is so friendly. Or that I saw “Herbie the Love Bug” movie as a kid. In any event, Volkswagen Beetle die-cast cars were among my top picks. I was a Matchbox kid all the way, but in later years warmed up to the flashy Hot Wheels cars. Here’s my attempt […]
I approach character design with research followed by a series of shape explorations. Photoshop’s lasso tool is my tool of choice for shape exploration. Below is my process work for Pap Finn, taken from the book Huckelberry Finn by Mark Twain. These were created about a year ago for a Character Object and Design course I taught. First, I start with a series of silhouette explorations, keeping in mind the text description of the character. Next, I flesh out the silhouettes by adding volumetric shapes to the silhouettes, giving the drawings some depth. Also included are design notes articulating my […]
Imagine that your own comic creation gets turned into a movie. That’s exactly what happened with El Muerto, created by my pal Javier Hernandez. El Muerto, also known as the Aztec Zombie, was debuted on the screen in 2007, and starred Wilmer Valderrama. The film went on to win the Best Feature Film award at the first annual Whittier Film Festival in 2008. Here’s my take on Javier’s character. Sketch: Inks on pencils: Here’s the fills, which I keep on a separate layer under my Inks layer. And, here’s the final, with a splash of red thrown in as an […]
Though I only started reading Marvel comics in the mid ’80’s, I have a special affinity for the Marvel comics from the decade before. As a tribute of sorts, I spoofed the cover design of Giant Size X-Men #1 – which introduced the world to the likes of Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and Colossus. Below are the pencils. There were three iterations beforehand that didn’t make the final cut. The pencils were created in a program called Mischief. Next, the inks, created in Manga Studio. The illustration was brought into Photoshop, where it was married with the comic book cover trade […]
Sometimes you want to draw something but you’re just not sure where to begin. One of my favorite warm-up exercises is to take a famous celebrity (or interesting person) and mash him or her up with a random animal. Here I’ve taken Jim Carey and crossed him over with a walrus. The goal here is to come up with an unusual character, and not necessarily make the character “look” like the celebrity. This is another tool in my character design brainstorming process. For this particular sketch, I used a program called Mischief for pencils, with inks in Manga Studio and […]
This is a quick piece I drew of one of the main characters (Eddie Huang) from the new ABC television series Fresh off the Boat. I was given the opportunity to watch an early screening of the show and found it to be relatable in many ways. Rough pencils: Final art: -Krishna
Color has a tendency to fool the eye into thinking that the contrast levels are okay. The best method I’ve found to insure that there is sufficient contrast is to take an existing image and convert to grayscale. By looking at the tonal values alone, without the distraction of color, I can see if the range of dark to light shades provide sufficient contrast. A poor tonal range will yield grayscale values that are very close to one another. A good tonal range will have areas of high and low contrast to balance the composition’s midtone grayscale values. Below is […]
I had some second thoughts and wasn’t happy with my first attempt at the character Er’mli. I scrapped the drawing all together and redrew it. This time, I took particular note of the colors that were in the text description of the character (medium yellow and dark blue) and worked those elements into the design. For comparison, here is the first version: and here’s the revised version:
What started out as a quick sketch of an overweight Phantom… …developed into a visual narrative with the character. Adding some context, acting and an interesting or humorous situation can breathe life and interest into a character design. Give your character purpose and intent, don’t just have them stand or sit “normally”. Think about who your character is and what makes them tick. What do they want? What do they fear? How do they react in certain situations? I find it useful to map characters onto people that I’ve come into contact with – whether it’s a person I see […]
And then I thought to myself: Star Wars and dinosaurs, how cool would that be? Turns out, really cool. -Krishna
This evening, as a wind-down sketch, I drew a modern spin on the classic Greek villainess Medusa. A modern day interpretation of the pantheon of of Greek gods is something I would like to tackle soon. Pencils: Inks over pencils: Inks by themselves: Final!
This evening I drew a character named Mono, from the upcoming Space Riders comic book, published by Black Mask Studios. Space Riders is written by Fabian Rangel Jr. with art by Alexis Ziritt (who, by amazing coincidence, happens to be a friend and former student of mine). Advanced reviews says that the book is “f’in sublime”. Run out and pre-order this book at your favorite local comic shop. You won’t regret it. -Krishna
I opted to go with a more painterly approach when finalizing the look for this character. The process began by taking the pencil sketch and applying a flat color approach, using Photoshop’s lasso tool. From there, I used a few custom Photoshop brushes to add in shading. Next, I applied a paper texture to give the robe a different material feel. I’ve used this technique plenty of times for illustrating background layouts, but this is the first time I’ve applied the same techniques towards character design. It was definitely an enjoyable experience, and I hope to create new character design […]
I wrapped up another ancient Egyptian background this evening. I debated as to whether or not to leave the broken pot from the pencils (below) in the final piece. In the end, I decided against it because it would draw too much attention from the eerie mood I am trying to establish. Is an illustration ever “complete”? For me, it is. Onward to the next adventure!
I’m reading a book on Maurice Noble, the famed background layout artist whose work at Disney and Warner Bros. are the stuff of legend. Mr. Noble’s background designs are brilliant, and I have a lot to learn from studying his work. Though I work digitally, I approach background design from a painting perspective. I prefer the minimalistic, stylized look as opposed to photorealistic rendering. I prefer to let shapes, not lines, dictate the environment. Below are the color flats for one of the Egyptian backgrounds I was working on earlier this week. Using the pencil sketch, I establish a base […]
Working from the silhouettes I developed last week, I expanded upon a few of them to arrive at the rough pencil drawings you see below. The description of forest shrines led me towards looking at robes of the Far East for the character’s outfit. Er’mli is stated to be a God, donned in formal attire, so the long flowing robe makes a good fit, I think. My research of Mu (referenced as Er’mli’s father in the text description of the character) led me to incorporate the Chinese symbol of “Mu” into the character’s robe. In each of the designs, I […]
A week back, I documented my thumbnail process for an Egyptian tomb interior. This week, I selected two of the thumbnail images and developed them further. During this phase of the process, I add more details, including elements of a visual narrative. Basic shading was added to give the illustrations more clarity and depth.
One of the first assignments in my Character and Object Design course is the Wooden Vehicle Project. The purpose of this project is to give the students the opportunity to visualize and draw objects as three dimensional structures. Using a wooden vehicle of their choice, students work from a 3/4 front or 3/4 back view of their reference photo. The goal of this exercise isn’t to copy the photo – but to use it as a guide for establishing proportions. Students are asked to show their process work from beginning to end. Often times, when time allows, I like to […]
Unless you are an aficionado of 1960’s music, you may not have heard of The Yardbirds. But many people recognize Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. Each of these guitarists played in The Yardbirds at an early point in their careers. Here’s a process breakdown for the central figure of this piece, Keith Relf.
I saw Ghostbusters in the theater when I was in 7th grade. It made an indelible impression on me back then. The theme song was anthemic, and the story had a fun mix of sci-fi and crass humor. By the ending credits of the film, my gang of friends and I had already made plans to become neighborhood Ghostbusters, placing flyers around our apartment complex. Good times. In my view, no character embodies that movie more than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Today’s sketch pays tribute to the Man, the Marshmallow Man, and the Myth. Adding a twist, I opted […]
My wind down sketch for the evening features another portrait. The more unusual the subject, the more interested I am in capturing it. Pencils: Inks: Colors:
Drawing from the outside allows me to focus on shape and overall proportions instead of sweating details. Drawing silhouettes is a very quick process, thanks to the symmetry tool in Autodesk Sketchbook. The symmetry tool is a good first start for playing with proportions and shape, but I don’t exclusively rely on it. (The drawings that it generates tend to be stiff and mechanical.) After a few warm-up symmetry sketches, I shift to working out character poses. It gives me an idea of how the character will move, and also allows me to think about the character’s attitude, by way […]
Over the course of the next several blog posts, I’ll be sharing my process on how I personally approach character concept design. Constraints are important, and in this case, the constraint I’ve been given is the text description of a character obtained from Chaotic Shiny, a writing and gaming generator. Er’mli, the God of Wrath, is very beautiful, with copper skin, long, pale golden hair, and eyes the color of tree bark. He is very tall and broad-shouldered, and often looks sly. He usually wears formal attire dyed medium yellow and dark blue. He is also associated with water and […]
This quarter I’m teaching a course on background design and layout. Though I’m familiar with background design, this is the first time I am teaching a course specifically on the subject. As such, part of my preparation includes developing my own files to use within my class room demonstrations. Essentially, I’m doing my “homework” to show my students my process and what my expectations are. Designing backgrounds doesn’t have to be intimidating. I spend a considerable amount of time collecting environmental references (both Pinterest and Google are excellent places to start your search). Once I’ve amassed my references, I start […]
Never underestimate the power of the symmetry tool when it comes to brainstorming character designs. Programs like Sketchbook and Manga Studio offer these tools (providing both X and Y symmetry). Draw one side and your sketch is mirrored simultaneously on the other side. I use this technique quite a bit when I’m developing a series of quick thumbnails for concept work. Pencils: Inks: This is where I add some small variations in texture and some asymmetry to the design. Colors: -Krishna
Who doesn’t like drawing Sci-Fi from time to time? Below is a head sketch of a character I’m calling Captain Insanity. Pencils (Sketchbook Pro), using a custom brush I developed. The default Pencil brush in Sketchbook lacks any type of line weight. Inks (Manga Studio 5EX): Inking in Manga Studio is fluid and smooth. Color flats (Photoshop): My muscle memory is tuned to coloring in Photoshop. Maybe one day I’ll investigate colors in Manga Studio… Final!
My first illustration for 2015 started on New Year’s Eve. Flying gadgetry has always been the stuff of fascination for me, so when I ran across a contraption developed by Thomas Bird (involving an outboard motor and a ceiling fan!), my creative juices were firing on all cylinders. Below is my ink layer, overlapped ontop of my pencil layer. I thought it would be neat to show the pencils overplayed onto of the final piece. There weren’t any major modifications from the pencils in this particular illustration. I took it one step further and added the pencils and inks as […]
I’m not here to debate the merits of whether creating a print portfolio makes sense for design professionals, but I do know one thing: I enjoy making them. These days, the bulk of my work is done entirely on the computer. Although I share my work on various social networks (and this portfolio site), seeing my illustrations in the tangible form of a book makes my work feel more “real” to me. Every element of making a portfolio book requires careful and meticulous detail. Unlike posting work on the web, there is no instant gratification when making a portfolio book. […]
Below is a breakdown of a vehicle piece I started working on last week. I’m particularly enamored with older cars, and that’s how I came across the Datsun 510. The diminutive boxy frame needed an over-sized, cobbled-together motor, so I happily obliged. Growing up on shows like “Dukes of Hazard” and “The A-Team” fuels a lot of my fascination with vehicles. I’m drawn to bright, vibrant (intense) color palettes in my work. Here I used green and orange as main colors to provide some balance. The background is intense, and the illustrated elements have a more desaturated look, giving it […]
The pencils for this particular illustration were created using Autodesk Sketchbook 7 Pro, and I worked from a reference image on Pinterest. After penciling the drawing, I used the Perspective tool in Photoshop to give the warrior a slightly more stylized look. From there, I brought the drawing into Manga Studio 5EX for inking, using a slightly modified variant of the Lando Calbrusshian custom brush developed by Ray Frenden. Lastly, I added colors and textures using Adobe Photoshop. It’s perfectly normal for me to mix and match between tools. Each of the tools listed above export out to a Photoshop […]
In my view, drawing outside of your comfort zone is not only a good way to challenge yourself, it’s also a necessary component for growth as an artist. Face it, there may be subjects you’re less than thrilled to draw – but being a professional in this field means we have to put aside our own biases and look at the task at hand as another opportunity to creatively problem solve. I’ve never drawn a mermaid before last night but that didn’t stop me from giving it my best go at it. Below are the rough pencils. In comparing the […]
Tools used: Manga Studio 5EX Adobe Photoshop CC Yiynova MSP19u tablet monitor I work digitally 99% of the time. My tools of choice are Manga Studio and Photoshop. After collecting and studying references, I start off with a rough sketch using a light color with a custom brush I developed for use in Manga Studio. My digital drawings are created using a Yiynova MSP19u tablet monitor, which I’ve had for nearly two years. Digital inking is performed on the layer above the pencils, after reducing the opacity of the pencil layer to 20%. Colors and final tweaks are performed using […]
The BENT Magazine is a quarterly publication for Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society. With a circulation of 88,000 readers, the magazine connects engineers from all disciplines. PC Weenies, with its focus on tech and geeky humor, has been a regular staple within the magazine for several years now. -Krishna
I’m excited to announce that I’ve been given the opportunity to take part in the Infinite Canvas: Art of the Webcomic gallery show at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) in Denver, Colorado. The gallery event opens on January 8, 2015 and runs until the end of the month. I’ll be on hand for the opening of the event on January 7th and 8th. The opening reception will be held on January 8th from 5 – 8PM, with an Artist Talk at 6:30PM at the Mary Harris Auditorium. The gallery show will feature work from Jason Horn, […]
Pardon the dust and construction, but the website you are currently visiting has been retooled from the ground up as a shiny new WordPress install – and I’m still “moving in”. You may recall that once upon a time my portfolio site was built out of WordPress. I abandoned it for a custom self-built HTML/CSS site (shown below): While the custom HTML/CSS version of the site was relatively easy to maintain, it suffered from two major flaws: It lacked a process blogging component to keep the site fresh. It was not a responsive-ready design. The new site has been built […]