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November Art Prompt 2018

Alright guys, late again I know. My life seems to be in a permanent state of chaos for the last few months. My Halloween Party took a mountain of prep, (worth it!) and a ton of clean up. That being said a good time was had by all, and I have two papier mache corpses and a pile of skulls to decorate my studio with. 

I have some ideas for the blog, as I stated before. More coming soon once I figure out a little execution. Also promise to work on some site updates soon (TM). I really need to work on my time management skills or sell my children to gypsies. 

Ok without further ado, here is the prompt for this month. I know people always think November and the traditional Colonial American themes spring to mind but I’m kinda thinking Old West. Throw in Some Victorian or Steampunk even. Spice it up, make it yours.  As per the usual, do a sketch a day (sorry for being late!) Try to spend at least 30 minutes drawing every day. Good luck, and most of all have fun!

Figures and Costumes

 

Week 1: Figures and costumes.

I like to draw faces to warm up a lot so I thought starting with figures is kinda logical. Learn to draw men, women and children. 

Clothing is an important part of character design. Do some research on various styles of clothing in the period. Costumes varied greatly between people who lived in the city and those who were on the frontier. Also Native American tribes had very individual styles. 

 

Props

 

Week 2: Props 

Props play a very important part of environment design. Modes of transport, furniture and weapons. A good place to find out what kinds of things might be in an old west interior can be found in Bodie, California. Beware, if you make the trip to see it in person this town and all of its possessions are cursed. Don’t be tempted to take home a souvenir. 

All Creatures

 

Week 3: All Creatures

And this includes cryptids and legends. Bigfoot, wendigo, skinwalkers, jackalopes to name a few. 

Other more mundane classic wild west critters include coyote, buffalo (North American Bison), wolves, panthers, mountain lions, bobcats, horses, roadrunner, possum, last but not least our friend the polecat (skunk). 

Architecture and Landscapes

Week 4: Architecture and Landscapes

America has all sorts of terrain and a wide variety of architecture. For a frontier feel check out Bodie, California, this list of Colorado ghost towns, or if you would like to check out a frontier fort the one in Ft. Gibson, Oklahoma is still standing today.

If you are looking for something less rustic, America has quite an array of architectural styles. Here is a list with photos available from the Boston College website. 

America has vast terrain to choose from. I couldn’t possibly list all of the places of interest. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Here is a list of American National Parks. Before you venture off in the wilds on your own make sure to check out Rusty West or David Paulides (Missing 411) on YouTube.

 

October Art Prompt 2018

Hurray, it's October!!!

So sorry about September. I’m most ashamed I didn’t even make an apology post. Thank you to those of you who sent messages and made comments. I’m happy to have readers who are enjoying the blog. 

So What was I do all last month? Well the biggest ordeal was my son has his tonsils out. Not a major issue but he was down and out for about a week and a half or so. It threw me off my game and I just got out of my routine. New month. Time to get back on track.

Upcoming stuff...

    I want to do some posts around the middle of the month dealing with anatomy, proportion and form. Basically if you can understand these three things you can do pretty much anything.

Note:  Not going to swear I’m getting to it this month. I have a Halloween party coming up. I have a lot of decorations to make and five costumes to make. Right now it’s taking up a ton of my time. 

The inspiration behind the anatomy and form posts is that I have been getting a lot of people asking me lately about the creepy dolls and miniatures I used to make. I really enjoy sculpture. All of it has to do with anatomy and form. So I am going to show you how to turn your sketches into 3D works of art and all that comes with that.

The Prompts

Every day is Halloween around here so now we can just feel at home. I’m going to stick to the new 4 weeks format because I think it helps cut down the boredom to have a new subject each week. If you don’t like a topic or have one you really want to run with then feel free to switch it up or run with it. The goal is to draw something every day. 

Week 1: Ghosts and Undead

Shadow people, vampires, golems and ghouls are just a few examples. Explore these common themes by researching their characteristics and habits in other cultures such as the Jiangshi and the walking corpses of Toraja.

Week 2: Man Beasts

I am really in love with the Native North American legends of the wendigo and skinwalkers. I grew up in the deep woods and the idea of encountering one of these creatures is horrifying. Missing 411?

This topic also includes werebeasts, dogmen, pigmen, owlwomen, goatmen and Bigfoot himself. Welcome to cryptozoology 101. 

Week 3: Witches and Warlocks

 

If you need inspiration in this area please make sure to check out pumpkinrot.com. Enough said.

Week 4: Little Monsters

This one might be a little broad spectrum. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to do a section on evil fairies and trolls or creepy children stories. As a child the idea of sinister child stealing fae is pretty unsettling. As an adult there is nothing creepier than waking up in the middle of the night to have one of your kids standing at your bed side staring at you while you sleep. Just, why? Anywho….

Trolls, duende, red caps, leprechauns and slaugh fall into the categories of trickster or evil fae. If you’re in the modd for sinister kid legends check out doppelgangers and black-eyed children. Think black-eyed children is a new concept? Hardly. Iroquois legends of the Otkon have been around for centuries.

 

Ok, so there you have it folks. I’m going to be blocking out a little time in my day, every day, to get my drawing habit back in full swing. It is the most important art skill anyone can possess. Like all skills they can be improved or you can get really rusty. So keep at it every day. Devote just half an hour and you’re on your way. 

August 2018 – Art Prompt

What's up

Let me kick off the post by playing catch up on my thought processes. I really need to just post more often. Many apologies for posting a day late. My kids are on school holiday and have commandeered my computer. By the time they were in bed and I realized I forgot to post this month’s prompt it was late and I was beyond tired.  

Yes, I need to post more often. Didn’t I say that? I get bogged down in projects, kids, housework and boring real life stuff and I neglect my blog. I want to start posting more interesting content throughout the month. I am thinking in the way of tutorials or something. Not sure if I will keep it to text or start a video blog. I’m kinda camera shy, so let me think on it some more. 

Prompt

The topics for this month’s prompts are : Urban Legends, Strange But True, Ghost Stories, True Crime. In my process I often develop my characters and stories at the same time. These prompts can easily be used for writing or drawing inspiration. Every place has a story (sometimes several) in one or more these topics. If you think you don’t have any local legends or happenings you’re wrong. Do some digging, you’ll  be surprised what you come up with. 

When I was a little bitty kid we had part of an old house foundation in our yard. It looked like a low stone wall. Every spring daffodils bloomed around it. My sister and I loved to go pick them. When I was older I found out that the woman who lived in that house was stabbed to death by her husband. He ended up going to a mental institution. Nobody wanted to live in a house where someone was murdered, so it was torn down. The killer was the uncle of the man who we rented our property from. This story has made it’s way into my own stories.

If you aren’t feeling inspired by your local history, don’t hesitate to look  further afield. All cultures around the world have their own stories and legends. Some of them are seriously weird. Research. Do one for each day of the week. Write a story or draw a picture based on what you find. Enjoy!

Urban Legends: Probably one of the most well known urban legends is that of Bloody Mary. Every city across America (across the world, even) has an urban legend. They are often based in some truer story that happened locally or was borrowed from another region. Finding out how true a legend is is most of the fun of researching urban legends. Bonus points for finding ones as close to home as possible. They are usually the most obscure. The world needs fresh story ideas. 

Strange But True: Our world is full of unsolved mysteries that make absolutely no sense and baffle authorities. These are the stories that are behind every good conspiracy theory. One of my favorites is that of Dyatlov Pass in Russia. If you don’t know it, I won’t spoil it. You have to experience it for yourself.

A lesser known but similar story occurred in the late 70s in California. It is called the American Dyatlov Pass or the Yuba City incident. Again, these kinds of weird stories are everywhere if you are willing to devote some time to looking for them.

Ghost Stories/ Hauntings: I love a good ghost story. Everywhere I have ever been, including the reserved and practical Netherlands, has a ghost story and at least one haunted house. Don’t believe me? Most Dutch people don’t know it, but the most haunted house in the Netherlands is in a village called Monster. How cool is that? They don’t know because they aren’t looking. The first thing I do when I come to a new area is research local legends and hauntings. Everywhere is pretty much like everywhere else without them. Before you resort to the internet for inspiration, try to find your town’s local haunted house and find out why people think it is haunted. 

True Crime: We have all heard the saying “The truth is stranger than fiction”. Meet Ed Gein. In the 1950s he was your average old guy next door/ handyman type. He was considered a bit odd but well liked. He entertained neighborhood kids and liked to cook for his friends. He is also the inspiration for Leatherface, Psycho and Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs. 

Every culture throughout time has these types of people. They live next door. They appear normal. No one would suspect them until…..

Lesser known, but just as disturbing accounts include Takahiro Shiraishi- Tokyo, Anatoly Moskvin- Russia, Elias Xitavhudzi- Africa, and until it was made popular by American Horror Story, Marie Delphine (Macarty) LaLaurie- New Orleans. 

In the instance of true crime it is often better to be inspired by but tactful when using these stories. This is especially true if the events are recent. Still living family and friends of victims will likely always be grieving their losses. Please be respectful.  

July 2018 Art Prompt

Here we are in July, the 4th right around the corner. I know I haven’t lived in the states for a long time, but old habits die hard. Sadly the 4th brings to mind more disturbing imagery than it did in past years- useful if you are into creepy stuff. I quite like tales of espionage and political wickedness. These days there is no end to the possibilities as it seems like reality is more akin to an episode of House of Cards.  Even the cast of characters is a little too perfect in their sinister and extremely unique styles. All of that weird hair! 

I thought it might be fun to create some characters and environments based on real life political characters and countries. My personal favorite is Russia and that whole cold war thing, brutal architecture, and is it me or does it always seem like that place is lit in twilight?  

 

 

Week 1: I don’t think I could ever get tired of imagery from Pripyat. I love urban decay. Civilization lost. Peeling paint. Ghosts of the past.  Draw 7 environments – interior or exterior of Pripyat. If that doesn’t strike you I am sure there are plenty of props to draw- gas masks, dolls, and a skeletal dog. 

 

 

Week 2: I have to admit I never really researched Korea before. It really is a beautiful place. Pick 7 of your favorite images from Korea and draw them. 

 

 

Week 3: America is so vast. Every location has it’s own vibe. Every community is unique. I was hard pressed to pick an image that just says “America”. This is pretty close to the current vibe I get.

Pick 7 of your favorite images from America- people, places, things.  If you are not sure where to start check out Brooklyn, the Salton Sea or Route 66. Looking for something a little wilder? Check out the National Parks. Discover the conspiracy theories about all the people who go missing in them every year. Where do you think they go? Bigfoot, aliens and serial killers are popular theories. 

 

 

Week 4: Surprise yourself. There are so many things out there to be inspired by. Sinister looking politicians, foreign lands, strange customs. Time is not a factor. Pick 7 things to draw from any era and place on the subject of politics. Don’t forget the influence of the church over the monarchy. Be creative. 

100 Days of Comic Creation – Days 5-8

 

I had a few days of testing out various media to see how i want to get this comic to look. Still not 100% decided, but it’s getting there. After much fiddling around with pencils and charcoal I reverted back to my usual suspects- ink and watercolor. 

 

 

I just got my copy of Black Monday Murders: Volume 2 in the mail yesterday. When I was putting it on my bookshelf I saw my copy of Empty Zone and it reminded me of the fan art I did last summer. I really liked the gouache painted foreground with the watercolor in the background. I decided to play around with that for a while today and see what happened. 

 

I am not posting art I am using in the comic. I am working on the project indirectly by testing media, but I am using ideas generated from the June 2018 Art Prompts

I sketched out my pencil sketch on 220 gram craft paper. I wanted to test it and see if it would spot when it got wet. It actually holds up very well. No spotting and it stays very flat. I’m using the expensive block. I have a cheap block that looks the same but the paper quality is inferior and it gets little grey spots on it when it I apply washes to it. 

 

 

I like to work from dark to light so I apply my ink first. I plan to test out some more sketches tomorrow using a pen or no ink. In this sketch I used a brush and 75% black india. Diluting it slightly takes the shine out. I brushed on a very diluted wash of ink to suggest trees in the background and to indicate shadows. This process is called grisaille. It will influence the color of the paint applied on top. 

This is my finished painting. I painted the background first using very light washes of watercolor to indicate trees and a hint of color. 

The tree in the foreground is painted with gouache. Gouache is opaque watercolor paint. It is cool because you can paint light over dark. However, it is not permanent and will lift. You have one shot to get it right, maybe two if your brush isn’t that wet. Takes some practice, but you can get some cool effects with it. 

I painted the mountain lion last. The darkest paint is undiluted gouache. The lighter parts are very diluted gouache. Some people say you can’t thin it that much or it powders off. I use Windsor Newton and Royal Talens paints and have never had that problem. 

Overall I am pretty happy with this result. I think it is definitely in the direction I am wanting to go. I like the effect of the lighter washes going into the background and the thicker gouache bringing the foreground forward. It gives it a very 3D feeling without having to try really hard. 

Ok, so that’s where I am right now. More to come in the near future. 

June 2018 Art Prompt

This month I am changing the format of the art prompts. I am still going to post them for the entire month as a theme, but I am going to break them down into 4 weeks per month with a new subject each week. Figured that was kinda the best of both worlds with some much needed variation. I hope you enjoy

Depending on where you live, forests can be creepy and even dangerous places. With summer just around the corner I thought a creepy nature theme is just what is needed. I’m going to kick it off with a suggested prompt and it’s up to you on how you interpret it or what you draw. As always I would love to see your work. If you comment a link I will happily take a look. 

 

 

Week 1- Draw 7 different images of wild animals eating. For those of you disturbed by Mother Nature at her most grisly, feel free to draw squirrels eating nuts and other sunny subjects. 

 

 

Week 2 – Draw 7 things to fear in the forest. From serial killers to spiders, there are many frightening things in forests! 

 

 

 

Week 3 – Draw 7 things to fear in the water. Any water- oceans lakes, springs, ponds, whatever. 

 

 

 

Week 4 – Draw 7 poisonous things found in nature. Can be plants, flowers, fungi, spiders, bugs, snakes. Land, sea or air. Your choice.

I would like to say thank you to the photographers at Pexels for the free images provided in this post. If you are in need of free images to use, commercially or otherwise, check out my post on my favorite free reference photo websitesHave an awesome month sketching.

100 Days of Making Comics – Days 3&4

I think as far as challenge rules go I am supposed to update every day. If I don’t post here I will probably mention something on Twitter. Yesterday I worked on the project for about 2 hours or so and finished the script and thumbnails.   

The story(s) I am working on for this project are short. If I post every little thing it’s going to kind of give it all away.  I already feel like I am in Spoiler Hell, but here goes with some of the doodles I was working on today. I worked on it for about 2 hours off and on, doing sketches and coming up with references. 

I settled on a name for my story today- “1917”.  It is set in rural Arkansas in the year 1917. I’m from Arkansas. Write about what you know, right? Stephen King has Castle Rock, I have Ravenden. Quite a few of my spooky stories take place there. Well, it was kind of a spooky place to grow up.

 

 

I’m starting to think about the layout of the farm and the style of the barn and farmhouse. 

 

 

 

I’m still working on character design. I’m also playing around with different media trying to establish a feel. Had a fleeting moment today where I debated on doing it in black and white, but I decided to go with color, although it will probably be a fairly muted palette.  

For a horror fan I am actually kind of squeamish. I love (sarcasm) finding reference material for all of my gory death scenes.  In this case I was already prepared. There is a well known case in the town where I was born, about a man named George Cheverie.  He was hanged without a trial, by an angry mob after he shot the town marshal  during a dispute where he was accused of stealing a log.  The event was photographed by the locals and copies are a matter of public record. Not even the most sinister or weird thing to happen there. Told you it was a creepy place to grow up.  I have lots of material to work with. 

 

 

So that’s where I am for today. probably post an update in a few days. Don’t forget to check back on the 1st for the new list of art prompts. 

100 Days of Making Comics – Day 2

This is going to be short and sweet. I managed to get some progress done on the thumbnailing today. Rearranged some of the story info. I spent just about 30 minutes on the project today this morning before I went out. I had intended to spend a few hours on it tonight, but my oldest (grown) daughter needed some mom time. She lives in the states and I don’t get to see her much. When she needs me I make a point to be there for her. She might be 27, but she will always be my baby.

The rest of my day was spent on an epic 40 mile (round trip) bicycle ride to a neighboring town to see a dinosaur museum with my  little kids. I think I had more fun than they did. I came away with a ton of pics. Some I am sure will come in handy as reference pics for future projects. James Gurney eat your heart out! 

I think the collest thing about these pictures is the scale. The statues are to scale of the real dinos. The skeleton is real. This was my first time seeing a real T-Rex skeleton so it was pretty exciting. 

100 Days of Making Comics Challenge #1

Today marks, what I am considering, my first official day of the 100 Days of Making Comics challenge. First order of business- clean up my studio. I haven’t been in here much in the last few months. Mostly I have been working at the computer downstairs. Art supplies get tracked up and down. Usually instead of being put away they get piled on the lightbox or in my chair. My kids love to ransack this room for my pens and paint brushes. There is a fine layer of dust on everything.  And most of all,  I noticed the windows are absolutely filthy. 

After an hour of organizing and dusting I finally managed to get to work on the actual comic.  I know I said a few posts back I was done with the script and the thumbnailing, but I decided I wanted to flesh out the story more. Ghastly McNasty’s comment on my Halloween comic, “Java Dreams”, was streaming through my head, “Girl walks into restaurant, girl dies. But it’s weird enough to work.” This is a Southern Gothic tale. It needs some atmosphere and a bit of back story. 

Sometimes I write my script on my computer. Especially if it’s going to be long. I usually write them out in three acts, like a movie script, and plan my plot points and action accordingly. For short stories I work a little differently. Usually I do the script and thumbnails at the same time.

This sketchbook is my travel doodles book. I carry it around with me. The paper is thin and crappy and the cover is Pepto pink.  I am not precious about the stuff that goes in this book. I scribble story ideas and super rough sketches in it. When I get an idea of where I am going I switch to (I wrote typing lol – old af!)  copy paper.  Then I start fiddling with page layout, turns and script changes.

Now I am setting up my drawing board with some of the sketches I worked on previously. I want to work on my character designs some more. Do some turn arounds. Plan the look of the farm. I have created a mood board on Pinterest and have started stashing some reference pictures. 

My kids just went to bed (hallelujah). Without interruptions every five minutes maybe I can actually get into the zone and work some more on the thumbnails before I go to bed. I just wanted to get this blog post done so I don’t break the challenge rules on day 1. So far today my total time invested working just on the comic is about an hour.

100 Days of Making Comics

 I was perusing YouTube today and came across this awesome video by illustrator/ comic artist, Kevin Cross. He is the creator of 100 Days of Making Comics challengeA comics creation challenge you say? Where do I sign up? Facebook, actually – but there are rules. 

 – Challenge Requirements –

1. Comic Project that you haven’t been making enough time for.

2. At least 30-minutes of work towards the comic each day.

3. Everyday for 100 Consecutive Days. (100 days in a row).

4. Make a daily video/blog to hold yourself accountable.

5. Post it in the group.

You can see the full write up for the challenge on their Facebook page in the “About This Group” section.

I have several projects hanging around here collecting dust. My biggest problem is that I put way too much pressure on myself to deliver the exact perfect artwork, perfect page layout and perfect story. The inner critic takes over and pretty soon I am paralyzed with questions and doubt:

Is my story too much like someone else’s?

Does this artwork suck?

Is this the right style for the project?

Are my page layouts boring?

Are my character poses and scenes boring/ predictable?  

Ok, enough of this shit. Get a grip, already! It probably does suck and it’s not going to get better without practice. That’s what this site is all about- accountability, daily practice, reaching goals. My ultimate goal: create comics.  So what’s the problem? No excuses. I’m doing this!

This is a character sketch for the comic I want to start working on. I mentioned it in my last blog post, but then inner critic. I have the story complete, sans script changes. I have made a few revisions already and fleshed the story out a little more. I still haven’t come up with a title. It is a short horror story, taking place on a farm in rural Arkansas 1917. 

As a last thought, I still have the monthly prompt coming up on June 1st. The post is already written. For those of you not interested in doing comic art, fear not! I will keep up with the art prompt lists as I work on the 100 Days of Making Comics challenge.