Monthly Archives: November 2013

Creative Habit: Week 2 (part II)

With the Thanksgiving holiday here, I’ve had to go home to be with my family. I have done some more wolf sketches, but do not have access to a scanner or camera at the moment. So more visual developments are on the way and will definitely be here by the end of the weekend. I also am close to the Akron zoo so I would like to go to their facilities and draw their red wolves. I think that having live models is very beneficial. When you’re viewing an object in reality–in three dimensional space, you’re able to really perceive the volume of the object or organism on a much more advanced level then when viewing a photograph. Animals can be difficult to work from because they move unexpectedly, but I’m looking forward to that challenge.


Here’s my second digital painting of the week that I completed in 2.5 hours in photoshop. Again I used a photo reference because of my lack of live resources.

The creative habit project has been wonderful for me so far. Allowing myself a constrained time limit to complete digital paintings has increased my ability significantly in these few weeks. I would really like to incorporate this habitual process for other things I would like to learn. I would definitely like to continue to do digital painting each week (one painting at least). By allowing myself only a small amount of time, it allows me to really complete a piece, release, and then actually move on. Before, I’ve found myself starting a digital painting and saying “oh I’ll finish and post that later.” I never do. So now I’ll allow myself two hours for a painting. Whatever is done is done and it will be shared and posted. As someone who works best under pressure, this is getting some good quality work out of me.

It’s also very satisfying. I can’t tell you how strong my urge is to paint in photoshop whenever I sit in front of a cintiq. I find myself trying to paint in the middle of my animation class. It’s something I’ve needed to make time for and exercise–not having time and sneaking it into my class time has been disrupting my learning, and has been frustrating. Sometimes I forget how important it is to allow myself time to purely create.

So by the end of this weekend, I would like to present two more completed digital paintings. I think that next week, I will move on to color work, starting with limited palates and then moving on to completely local color. Color is difficult for me in digital painting, but with more practice I should be able to get a better handle on it than before.

Until next time,



Creative Habit: Week 2


My first few sketches this week were digital. I wanted to capture more movement with the wolves I drew. Gesture drawing these figures on a Wacom Cintiq was beneficial in loosening up my handling of the medium for when I’m completing rough animated segments. I tend to stay very stiff with my digital work because my mind separates it so far from actual drawing at times. I then continued on that day to do an hour long digital painting of a wolf in Adobe Photoshop (CS5)


I used a sort of cut-out method for this one, I first sketched out the wolf and used a sort of planar analysis to outline the different areas of value. Then, using the lasso tool to select areas and shade them accordingly. It’s a quick way to do value studies…and it’s sort of like Paint-by-Number….but I actually drew it. Regrettably, I used only one layer for this painting, so the preliminary sketch has been erased as I painted. I will definitely correct that in my next pieces.

Speaking of which, here is the sketch for my next piece. This will probably be a shorter one, one hour or so and then I’ll try to do a 2-3 hour piece at the end of the week.


I have more images in my sketchbook to scan. I’ll have those up and another digital painting or two up in this post by the end of the week.

Creative Habit Project: Week 1

I started off my week by doing daily sketches of wolves to understand anatomy as well as get a handle on drawing them again. I drew from photos and video footage due to my lack of access to live specimen.

wolfsketch004   wolfsketch005wolfsketch006    wolfsketch007


I did a couple of studies of the skull, since I had a challenging time making an educated guess on the angle of the top of the head and brow ridge without proper anatomical knowledge. I plan to do more anatomical studies next week, starting with the skeletal structure, overlaying the musculature, then finally the surface of the wolf. I’ll probably use tracing paper and colored pencils to complete this. If not–I’ll go digital. That would be an extra challenge.

I, somewhere down the line, decided I would do one digital painting a week. I would limit my time on it to 2 hours. However, I feel like that’s not enough. So I may do two one hour paintings and one two hour painting each week. But for the first week, I’ve gotten to test the waters.

I used a total of 3 layers in my painting, two of which are showing. The background, a sketch, and a rough value study that I progressed to a finish stage. This was the initial sketch.Image

For the final I used a monochromatic value scale. I want to make sure I do a couple of black and white paintings to solidify my range of value before I move on to color. Maybe the short paintings for the weeks following will be monochromatic and the final will be in color.


I have already definitely improved my digital painting skills as well as my anatomical understanding of the wolf. Allowing myself a limited time period for a painting is actually great. I would complete so many more digital paintings if I only allowed myself a certain amount of time. When the time is up–it’s finished. No exceptions. I would then have to post it. This is definitely key.

I can’t wait to get working on next week’s work! I contacted Ironwood Wolves and I will probably be setting up a time with one of their animal ambassadors the week after Thanksgiving. During the week of Thanksgiving, while I’m home, I’m going to try to get to the Akron Zoo to do some life drawing of the wolves in their facilities. Between photographing and drawing those two live sources, I will have plenty of material for the week following.

I’m off to get some sleep. I will also be posting more frequently next week! There’ll be some daily sketches spread out through the week.

Take Care!


The Creative Habit


Digital painting has been an interest of mine for a long time. Ever since my 5 year old self discovered Microsoft paint, I’ve been trying to make digital drawings and paintings. However, I’ve noticed that despite my amount of practice, I’m nowhere near the level of my peers. It’s horribly frustrating. I don’t use the right techniques and I feel that everyone else knows them. Every time I sit at a cintiq to animate, I end up taking some amount of break to do a quick digital drawing or painting. I’m always itching to whip out my tablet monitor and start painting, but I usually go look on blogging sites such as Tumblr, see the amazingly proficient digital artists, and tell myself to go eat a sandwich, take a nap, and give up. It still, however, doesn’t scratch the itch.

I would like to use this chance of the “Creative Habit” assignment for my class to build my skills. I would be doing two to four short speed paintings a week. I spoke with Charlotte Belland about this. I was at first unsure of a subject. I figured I would draw myself or another person, but then Charlotte asked me to tell her my favorite animal. It’s the wolf, of course. So then, I guess it was decided. I’m going to do at least an hour long speed painting of a wolf at least twice a week. The other days, I will be sketching a few wolves a day. When I was very small, I drew wolves constantly until I was about 13. Since then I’ve been drawing mainly humans and objects. I’ve always complained that traditional art classes don’t stress the drawing or painting of animals at all or as much as they should. I’ve come to find that plenty of animation and illustration classes in college require you to go to the zoo, observe animals, and sketch them. I have not, however, had the privilege of taking a class like that yet. I think it will be very fun and interesting to visit my root interests that got me into drawing as well as attempt to catch up with this digital age of painting!

Charlotte also informed me of Ironwood Wolves, an agency providing animal ambassadors for art, film, photography, and education. They care for wolfdogs of different hybrid levels. One of the wolfdogs was brought to CCAD to a cafe-sketch class, to allow animation and illustration students to have a live subject for drawing. Here is thir page on Facebook
I have gone ahead and liked it. Charlotte also said that their canine friends may come back for another drawing session. I will try and contact the head of this page, Rachel Lauren, to see if I can schedule appointments with the wolves. I will also try to go to the Columbus zoo, but my funds are low, so I’ll have to see what I can do. Other than that, I will probably find documentary footage of wolves to paint from when I can’t get to these places.

It’s been a lot of work and also a great time as we wrap up the pipeline project. I still have a couple of scenes to do clean up animation on before I can be officially finished with my roles. Overall it’s been a fantastic experience. I’ve been really nervous recently because I don’t know if my major is my be-all-end-all career. I’m not terribly good at character animation. It’s been hard to deal with, but I just have to realize that not everything about animation is for me. I’m very glad I was assigned to clean-up because I’m finding that I actually like it! I have a hard time cleaning up my own animation because I lack size consistency and the movement isn’t always as thorough as I would like. My peers in this project are really nice animators so the clean-up process is coming smoothly.

I don’t have much in the realm of clean-up work on me at the moment, however, here’s a quick illustration I did to establish the look of the character I was assigned; Scott.


Wrapping Up