Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Starter Sketches

I don't know if anyone will have any interest in this besides me, but I thought I'd post it for posterity anyway. It might be too inside baseball, but for some artists, it might serve as helpful.

Whenever I start working on a new image, especially if it's a more involved image, I like to do a little "starter sketch" to get me rolling. Basically, the starter sketch is just a blueprint for me that I can refer to as I'm working on the finished image. I started noticing that my desk and floor has become littered with this little scraps of drawings, so I thought I would post a few. If people find this interesting, I may post more.

This is a starter sketch that I used for some art I did for Paul and Storm. The only direction Paul gave me was that he wanted to give an illustration to Mythbusters host Adam Savage. "Maybe handing him something," I think was the idea. So in about 30 seconds I sketched this:

I originally wanted to do something fully digital, with some basic shapes to represent Paul and Storm and Adam. After a few tries, I realized I was losing Adam's personality, so I decided to go with a caricature pencil sketch of the three of them. Here is how it ended up. (the little JoCo was an afterthought):

Today I did a new image for Jonathan Coulton's song "Blue Sunny Day". He had told me a few months ago to start honing up on vampires. So I kept that in the back of my mind, waiting to hear what the song sounded like. I was able to hear a live version of the song a few weeks ago, but I didn't start drawing it because I always like to hear the studio version of his songs before I draw. After he released the song yesterday, I listened to it, read his notes about the song and then formulated a mental image of what I wanted to do. As soon as I get to that phase, I do the starter sketch, just to get the idea down on paper. This is what I came up with:

I had a color scheme in my head, based on the song and I knew what I wanted the finished product to look like. The elapsed time between starter sketch to when I begin to work on the art varies from 15 minutes to a day, depending on my schedule. Here is the finished art in all its glory:

Anyway, rather than throw these little sketches away, maybe I'll post a few. It should be noted that not all images start with a starter sketch, Only more complicated ones and even then it's really for blocking and size purposes.