Friday, August 23, 2013

I drew a self-portrait I like, with one glaring omission.


No, that doesn't seem appropriate...

Not a good likeness...

Too much of a likeness, it's just eerie.

Back to work, I guess...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Free Music For Your Project!

If you know of a site not listed in this post, let me know and I'll add the link!

Give Life Back To Music

Public domain, free music. Various types and genres.


Any list of free music sites would be remiss without a mention of Kevin MacLeod's vast database. Music on Incompetech is all instrumental and is searchable by genre, mood and feel. A great deal of it is specifically geared towards game or soundtrack use.

The Kyoto Connection

Japanese style pop and contemplative, also available in album-size .zips.

Dig CC Mixer

Offers tracks with vocals and instrumentals. Something that seems unique to this database is the offering of several tracks with their component parts- you'll be given the option to download the instrumentals only (on a track with vocals), just the drumline, just the bass, etc. You can also search by the type of media you want to use the music in (video, game, podcast, etc). Most of the music seems to be electronica.

Free Music Archive

FMA offers a wide variety of music in different genres; my one complaint is that the site doesn't allow you to search by license, or mark tracks as licensed for commerical use or not licensed for commerical use. I prefer to stick to music that's been okayed for commerical use even if I'm not intending to sell the project I'm using it in, since the line between commercial and non-commerical can be a little vague.


SoundClick does allow searching by license and you can see at a glance whether or not a track is okayed for commerical use. There's some darn good music here too, vocal and instrumental. There's also a wealth of music you can pay to license for commerical use if the free stuff just does not work for your project.

Art Resources

This is a list of helpful online resources and tutorials that I compiled for the attendees of a drawing workshop I gave in July. I thought I'd share it for anyone who'd like to keep a list of resources handy. It's not as extensive as some resource collections, but it covers the basics.


Here's a collection of tutorials by Sherm Cohen: He worked for Nickelodeon and these were actually used for the crew working on Spongebob. There's a lot of neat stuff about line of action, poses, planning out a drawing, and other things. There's also a link to his site where he has tutorial videos.

Great stuff on expressions:

Here's a collection of tutorials on drawing the human figure: there's special emphasis on faces, poses, hands and feet

Here's a bigger collection of tutorials: mostly on human and animal anatomy

An in-depth tutorial on realistic faces:

Here's a little bit about shading with pencil:

Here's a post on my blog about drawing hands: ;

If you're interested in buying drawing books, here are some that have helped me:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I have a confession to make (conversational post)

I'll be in Artist Alley of CONsole Room in May and signing up for that combined with the 12th Doctor buzz has put me into a minor Doctor Who frenzy. And I have a confession:

I really love Daleks?

Look at this- a normal Dalek is an armored dome with horrifying death beams on it. So they're basically little alien tanks. This one is...


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

On properly-lengthed arms

The 31 day challenge continues. Yesterday I posted about hands, so it seems natural to go on to the things that your hands are attached to.

I'd like to go into more detail about the arms and shoulders at a later date (particularly the shoulders because they can add some great things to a pose but so much of the time they're simply omitted), but I had less time today than I anticipated so I just drew a rough guide to making arms the right size in proportion to the body. It's REALLY rough, but it satisfies my blog quota for today. :P

I had great difficulty making arms the proper length when I started on the never-ending path of learning believable proportions, and these two rules helped. When arms are relaxed at the sides, elbows are about waist level and wrists reach to crotch level (in case you can't read my lovely digital handwriting there).

I'll try to have a more detailed post up tomorrow. I just really didn't want to skip the second day. I know the 31 blog challenge allows for 'double up days' but... man, it's only the second day.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Hands are very hard to draw. I am not by any means a hand expert, but since they are so difficult I figure any kind of tip, no matter how basic, might help somebody.

1. Practice drawing hands from live references

The nice thing about hands (and arms and legs): They're the only parts of your own body you can clearly see without a mirror. I often spend a few minutes sketching my own hand when I'm waiting for a class to start. It's good practice, and it helps avoid a. boredom b. noticing too much that the student directly behind and to the left of me is using the seat in front of him as a footrest, and isn't wearing shoes, and stockinged stranger feet are less than a yard away from my person and social conventions prevent me from doing anything about the nasty feet nasty gross-*

Perhaps you are thinking 'practice is a tip that took you all of ten seconds to think of' or 'I already knew practice leads to improvement' or 'I have art I need to post right now, and the hands look awful.' Okay, so, first off, they look more awful to you than to anyone else, because when you see your own art you're comparing it to an ideal image in your head. An outside viewer hasn't seen your picture anywhere else (unless you stole it, and in that case this post won't help you) and doesn't know if it fell short of what you were trying to create. So it's not as bad as you think. Second:

2. Basic construction of a hand

If you draw a lot, I'm sure you already have a method for building the hand, but everyone has slightly different ways of constructing things. I always find it helpful to see how someone else does it, whether I want to steal try out their method or not. Here's how I build the hand.

Hands are CONSTANTLY changing shape, which is a big part of why they're so hard. I use different construction shapes for them depending on what they're doing. Like so:

A special note on fists: It is easier to draw a fist with the fingers wrapped around the thumb, because what is the DEAL with thumbs. However, if you punch something or someone with your thumb inside your fist, you run a risk of breaking your thumb. A character who is experienced at punching would know this. A n00b character might not know it, and you can torture said character by making them punch the wrong way and break their thumb. Wait, I meant to say that a character who fights a lot has more credibility if drawn with the thumb outside the fist.

So basically, I use a sort of shield shape for the palm and then what happens to the fingers depends on what they're doing. If the hand is kind of just sitting there I'll draw the whole thing as a solid shape and add finger lines because, you know. I'm wild and crazy and all that.

3. Some ways to stylize hands

There are infinite ways to do it and you'll probably invent your own if you draw enough. Here are just a few examples for the curious. I invented none of them.

I think Mickey Mouse's white gloves have something to do with how animation was done in the 1920s when Mickey was born. Nowadays, there's no reason to give a cartoon character permanent big white gloves like that unless you're being intentionally retro. I tried to find out why exactly he has the gloves and couldn't find anything that looked trustworthy, but I did find a Wikipedia article on the Power Glove. Now, that would be an interesting thing to put in a character design...

The middle and ring fingers are often kept next to each other and used as if they're one finger, particularly in Disney movies. It's a way to keep some of the simplification of a four-fingered hand without drawing something as cartoony as a four-fingered hand.

Oh, and fingernails are often ommitted. I... never draw fingernails.

4. Wrists

When the wrist is straight, this is all you see.

A slight flaring out betwen the heel of the hand and the forearm. You don't even have to draw it if you're doing a stylized drawing, I assure you no one will notice. (Except for me, now that I've spent an hour pondering wrists).

(I don't know why they turned out different sizes like that)

Back-and-forth, the wrist has about 180 degrees of motion. I tried turning my wrist to the side and it kept stopping at seemingly random places, so I'll leave that for other artists to figure out.

Well, I'm nearing my 1,000-word limit and I think this is the end of what I actually know about drawing hands as opposed to what I think sounds plausible about drawing hands, so I'll leave you with this cool image I accidentally found when I was looking up references- oh, and here's a real tutorial by a more experienced artist.

* I know what you're thinking. 'Sketch the feet!' No. No. No. No. No. Well- no.

Friday, January 25, 2013