Christmas tags

As usual, I waited until the last minute to make my Christmas cards and gift tags. Fortunately, Dad (professor Robert C. Brown) had been looking for an excuse to try out his trusty new watercolor set, and so we found ourselves busily making art on Christmas eve. He painted the tags as I finished drawing them, and I even managed to coerce him into painting his own card! Who needs Hallmark anyway? :) Painting credits: Robert C. Brown


Final figure drawings of 2009



 After taking a 6 month hiatus from figure drawing, I decided to trek over to the last MCAD-hosted cooperative of the year. It's within walking distance, only $5, professionally organized, and the model last night was exceptional. I was also glad to see many people in attendance on such a cold night.

As usual, my first half dozen gestures were abysmal. I don't know if I will ever be able to shake a handful of bad habits that consistently pop up when I am drawing people from life: poor proportions, over-reliance on line, inability to sense form. I suspect this is partly due to the remarkable human ability to sense even the slightest anatomical error in renderings of people. But I also sense a certain anxiety when I know I'm about to draw a human being, an anxiety that is absent when I attempt to draft any other subject. Weird.


What they see




More refined compositions for the Kenneltraz project. The idea is that our pets' perception of the world is considerably more dramatic than ours--e.g. the local strip mall dog pound is seen as a creepy prison island. I still struggle mightily with value, but I'm starting to understand the whole painting thing. I've also learned that while the "mirror" test is invaluable and not all that scary during the early stages of a drawing, it becomes increasingly terrifying the longer one works. In the case of the animal gang picture, I was nearly finished with the painting (and out of time) before I worked up the courage to flip it. It was not a good experience.


More geese

Finished full-color cover and penciled interior illustrations for the goose project. I scanned the last two drawings before adding value, and I plan to add color to them in the near future.


Kenneltraz - first draft sketches

First round of sketches for the Kenneltraz project.


Prison isle take 2


A completely different take on the prison island concept.


Prison isle

A prison island inspired by Alcatraz (lighthouse, smokestack, water tower). I must have had The Curse of Monkey Island in mind as I drew this. Remember the Plunder Island map with those dramatic cinnamon roll clouds? I might try a darker, more severe version next.


Architectural identity crisis

A value study and more detailed sketch of the lab set for scene 1 of the virtual play to be staged in the aforementioned classical/byzantine-esque theatre. The play is about robots, and it's rather edgy. My kind of drama. Presently reworking the architectural flourishes to make it a bit less Victorian (although I'm definitely keeping the Frankenstein-derived "lightnining bulbs") and a bit more art deco. At least, that's the idea.


Groundling theater

A structure/lighting concept for a virtual theater to be used to stage interactive plays. The concept is a somewhat dilapidated (derelict, perhaps?) ~200-year-old theater from the turn of the 20th century. Barrel-shaped, with a dramatic dome a la the Hagia Sophia or Pantheon. Three-tiered gallery pays homage to the Globe.



My third and final rough for the Goose project. Having trouble making Oliver stand out against the background. I'm also unhappy with the overall sense of light and shadow. Perhaps if I knock back the value throughout the image and then selectively bring back key areas--Oliver's silhouette, the edge of the stack of books--I'll achieve the look I have in mind. Right now, I think there is a bit too much ambient light.


Book cover

My idea was to mimic those old promotional air force posters from WWII. I got the idea to put billowing clouds from this war bonds poster.


Goose update

A WIP of one of the illustrations I'm working on for the Goose book. This is a 1/3 resolution rough sketch with a bit of colour thrown in to give me an opportunity to play with value, and as an excuse to practice :) After I get this approved, I'll blow up the drawing, transfer it to board, and redraw the scene without all those chicken scratches. Critiques are, as always, heartily welcomed!


Sketch roundup

Geese! I'd forgotten how fun it is to anthropomorphize animals.

Mascot sketches for Groundling Games.

Ever have a sudden urge to draw but all you can find is a magazine cover featuring Brad Pitt? Well, that's what happened.


Another round of sketches from India

Antique cars and motorcycles on display at Chowmahalla Palace (near the Charminar in the old part of Hyderabad). I was focused on quickly sketching all of the cars until a high school-aged student approached me and requested we draw a motorcycle together. Ironically, he chose the "Indian Chief"--a cycle of American make prominently featuring a native American on the front fender. Also: a limeade vendor and his cart. Limeade in Hyderabad (and perhaps all of India) is very salty, very sweet, and just a little bit sour.

Bored at a sheesha bar...


More sketches from India

A sketch made from a rooftop terrace in one of the nicer parts of Hyderabad. The distant skyline was interesting, if a bit smog-obscured, but I was more interested in sketching the boulder field occupying the lot across the street. In the following weeks, I began to notice the boulders in other parts of the city. I saw a troupe of laborers working over a particularly massive stone with pick axes and jack hammers, and although their efforts did not appear to be affecting the stone in the slightest, the scene made me a little sad. Another hastily erected, nondescript commercial monolith hardly seems a suitable replacement for the massive, ancient, precariously stacked stones that in recent years have become an increasingly rare sight within city limits. But in the grand scheme of things, it's just a rock... right?

Who doesn't want a portable lotus pond in the shape of an elephant?

I met an amiable bonsai pro at a large outdoor garden festival who seemed to equate my interest in drawing bonsai--a perennial favorite subject of mine--with a deep understanding of the craft. I tried to explain that I had never actually miniaturized a tree, but he was already inviting me to tour his private, not-for-sale bonsai forest. I ran out of time and didn't get to see the bulk of his work, but the 50-odd trees on public display were pretty neat.

View from the window of my bedroom. The purpose of the cage wasn't clear to me; perhaps it keeps out the birds.


India sketchbook

I didn't obtain access to a scanner until the day before I left India, and then I was so busy gorging myself on a final round of dosas, stuffed lady fingers, and parathas that I ran out of time to post the scans. Bummer. Here are a couple of images from the little spiral-bound (+ pen and tiny watercolor set) I carried with me everywhere I went.

Imaginative sketches made during my "Delhi belly"-induced confinement.

Inspired by the craggy hills surrounding the village of Palampur.(I didn't have time to make a sketch on-site, so I had to rely on memory.)

Statues from the home I stayed at in Hyderabad. The Shahs had countless antique paintings, carvings, and statues lining the walls, floors, and ceilings.

And a quick sketch of one of those bloody autorickshaws that contribute so much to noise, pollution, and traffic deaths in India. But in the middle of the night on a crowded freeway lined with 8" speedbumps, riding in the back of one of the little devils WAS an experience...


a question of style

So, I can't decide if I want to illustrate all 100 fruits + veggies for "SeasonalChef" in Illustrator

or Flash

I guess I could switch between programs depending on the visual complexity of each consumable, but I was rather hoping to stick with one application. I'm sure this is directly related to me being familiar, but far from adept, with both drawing programs. The mesh gradient tool in Illustrator is a godsend for knobby, elongated, twisted, or otherwise funky veggies. But I really like how Flash gives the ability to localize alpha channels in gradients without messing around with masks. What a tragic dilemma.


Learn cell biology in 10 easy steps!

The set of posters that will be on display in India. Thanks again to Will Schneller for assembling and rendering many of the 3D assets.
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