Tag Archives: sketches

Farm Animal Sketch Preview

Wow . . . I am having so much fun working on this recent iPhone app project I’ve been blabbing about. The game app consists of identifying every farm animal under the sun, so I recently completed all the character sketches.  I’m really satisfied with the work I’ve done thus far.  They look like a cute little family!

There’s still much to be done, but in the meantime, enjoy this sneak preview of a few of my favorite farm animals . . . and get your iPhones at the ready for its release this summer!


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New Artist Showcase: Shaina Koval-Kim

Shaina Koval-Kim

Website: shaina.kovalkim.com

What kind of stories and projects are you working on lately?

I’ve been itching to do a children’s book lately, since I really want to let loose and bring some fun into my drawings. I enjoy drawing weird things, like monsters and strange animals with bulging eyes and random patches of hair, and I’ve doodled a few before deciding to come up with a story about an ugly– yet beautiful– dog. At the same time, another part of me likes drawing dark, moodier things, and I find myself sketching out illustrations like that, and sometimes finishing them.

What was your process of developing your style?

I’ve kept a sketchbook since I can remember. At first it was full of hideous self-portraits and deformed horses (all of which at the age of 10 or so I thought were amazing), but as I entered my teen years I started look at things other than textbook and museum art. I found anime, and I found Ralph Steadman. Some people look down on anime/manga-style drawings, but it taught me that things don’t have to look realistic to be functional. As for Ralph Steadman, I wanted to be him. Or live my life as his work, if I could only transform into a drawing. There was more simplicity in my drawings than in his, with cleaner lines (perhaps due to the fact that I spent a while drawings an obscene number of anime characters), but I mimicked what I could, adding texture and exaggerating to the best of my abilities with my Walgreens-bought pens and colored pencils. I had a style going on, but somehow after leaving Vassar College and going into Pratt, I reverted back and thought that all “real” art had to be painted. After a semester of mediocre paintings, one of my awesome professors, Cheryl Gross, looked at my sketchbook, saw my black and white line work, and taught me how to color in Photoshop. Best. Lesson. Ever. As I got better at Photoshop, my style started gaining more texture and my drawing improved. I also experimented with linocuts recently, and have found using them a great tool in terms of thinking about composition and color. And they have a great organic texture!

What do you use to work with?  What tools, art supplies and materials can you not live without?

I must have india ink, a small brush, and a dip pen, though in some cases, just a few Micron or Faber-Castell black pens will do. I could do a black and white illustration with just that. But I really do love Photoshop. I can fix things, I can add things, I can take them away again and compare between different versions. It allows me to see thousands of options before deciding on a final product, and I really love it just for that. Plus, then I only have to carry around my laptop and a Wacom tablet for a large part of my work, so I can take in anywhere.

If you could meet any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?

I have this nagging feeling that as soon as I answer this, I’ll think of at least a dozen more artists I would answer this question with, but for now I’d have to say my old favorite, Ralph Steadman. Though if I met him, I have no idea what I would do or say. Please let me live and frolic amongst your lines and splashes of color? His work is so loose, so inky, and so insanely alive that it boggles my mind. Though I no longer want to mimic him, every time I set pen/brush/pencil to paper, I aim to have that same vivaciousness exist in my own work.

New Artist Showcase: Chris Mulvey

Chris Mulvey

Website: http://mulveyart.com
Email: Mulveyillustration@gmail.com

What makes you passionate about pursuing a career as an artist?

I think the main factor that motivates me is the same thing that drives most artists to do what they do. I’ve been doing this for such a long time, that I can’t picture myself thriving in any other field. You set yourself up for success in almost any skill that that you begin to practice at an early age. Ask any Olympic gold winner. They’ll probably tell you they’ve been training since the age of 4.

What kind of stories are you working on lately?

Right now I’m working on two stories simultaneously. They are both graphic novels. One of them takes place in a parallel universe, on a distant planet. It touches on many of the problems we have here on earth – war, economic disputes, pollution, etc. This comic won’t be done for many years, and I began conceptualizing it eight years ago.

The one I plan on finishing sooner is about drugs and substance abuse. Each character in the series is a drug, and they all interact inside the body of a 15 year old boy. I do not work any biased views into the plot, and make sure that each drug’s persona proves to be educational to the fullest extent of it’s nature.

None of my stories have ever involved humans. They’re boring and predictable.

Where do you get your inspiration, in or outside of art? Favorite artists?

Ren and Stimpy, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Anything that involves the Muppets, Looney Tunes, Calvin and Hobbes, The Crow, The “Bone” series, the Ninja Turtles, Dennis Hopper, Edward Munch, Salvador Dali, Magritte, Goya, and Hunter S. Thompson.

No matter who you are, your creations will always reflect what you were exposed to when you were younger. I feel like my generation was particularly lucky.

You’re an art teacher as well… does that inspire you creatively? What advice would you give to kids looking to pursue illustration as a career?

The kids I teach are mostly between 6 and 8 years old. every once in a while we’ll get a passionate teenager who requires more specific guidance. I can still easily relate to the little ones though, especially the stubborn ones that pretend I’m not there when I try to help them. The main thing we try to teach is hand eye coordination. We make them use a grid system so that they can map out the image in their brain and draw everything freehand. I feel like the earlier this type of skill is instilled in your mind, the more unstoppable you will be as a creative thinker. I want them to eventually feel like they can draw whatever they want. Once you have that kind of confidence, you can build off of your own ideas and produce images that have never existed before. Reference will be a tool, not a necessity.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Nobody knows, nobody cares, and nobody will ever care, unless you absolutely MAKE them.

Happy Birthday, Ed!

It was Ed Emberley‘s birthday yesterday, so I think it’s time for a little celebration of my favorite step-by-step drawing master!  Emberley is famous for his simple shape-drawing method, and I myself used to spend hours and hours copying every bit of his video, Squiggles Dots and Lines. His techniques are elementary, but now I have a whole new appreciation for his fascinatingly clear design sense.  Plus, how much fun is it to make those little thumb-print people?

Thinking about ol’ Ed made me doodle some of my own characters in “Emberley” form:

And then doodle some more… (that’s my brain melting from the training session I was in, by the way. Oops!)

Happy Birthday, Ed Emberley!  You’re my hero.

The Great Turtle Makeover

Revisions, revisions, revisions!  It has been a year since I worked on Ollie And Logger In The Deep Blue Sea, the early reader book that I illustrated (and my mother wrote) for my first semester senior project.  I love the story and feel good about the pacing of the sketches as a whole. But as I look back, I was deeply dissatisfied with a couple of things. The characters seemed awkward, stiff and bloated, their faces falling short of the natural cuteness I was going for. And on top of that, all the color work I did wasn’t working either. Try as I might last fall, I was not getting the lightness and fluidity of underwater scenes, and all the pieces look overworked.  That’s the hardest part about watercolor – knowing when to stop, because once you go too far there is no going back, just starting over.

Despite my self-criticisms, I am confident that we have something marketable with Ollie And Logger – it’s just a matter of revising.  So I spent my three-day weekend reworking the characters and the first color piece . . . and here are the results of the makeover!

Baby Rhino Sketch!

The first prototype for the main character of a new picture book I’m starting.  Except maybe with smaller ears?

He’ll be watercolor eventually but for now I’m enjoying playing around with digital for color sketches (it gives me an excuse to improve my tablet/Photoshop skills!).

End Of Summertime

Soak it up, kids… fall is just around the corner.

Piggie at Coney Island, ©2010 Annie Beth Ericsson, digital color and pencil