Pony and griffin, and other art

I’m trying to get back into my art mojo, and the first pic I’ve finished in a long while has been for Jess Owen’s griffin contest. The contest stipulates that since the griffin island is more or less Iceland, you can only use creatures that are found on Iceland. I wanted to try to draw one of the pretty little Icelandic ponies. And a griffin.


Click to enlarge

For a pic done while coming out of an art hiatus and being very rusty, I’m satisfied with it. I might go back and tinker with it, though. I wanted it to be a little more sparkly.

I’m also messing about with this sequential art story idea thing. Not sure what it is, because it’s not a comic or a graphic novel. It’s just a series of pics with an ongoing story in the description. Kind of like a concept album, like Pink Floyd or the Decemberists do. Only pics. I have a little Sonic story I’d like to tell, and I need to brush up on my Sonic art again.

Not to mention composition and landscape skills. I did some sketches and every single one of them had two figures. Ugh!

I’m dabbling a bit with Spacetime book 4, too. It still needs a lot of thought, but it’s finally coming together. I had to reconcile the political thriller plot with the magical plot.

Don’t leave it in rough draft

I’ve been crazy busy the last couple of weeks. Nothing physical–all the work’s been inside my head.

Finished the complete rewrite of book 3.

Accepted and finished a heavy critique of a book for a friend.

Started work on this pic for a contest.


Guess which task has fallen by the wayside.

This pic is a rough draft. I did it in an hour and a half in one sitting, scribbling furiously away with my tablet. It has lines. It has gaps. It has issues with lighting and shadow molding and what the heck is up with their legs?

But hopefully you can see that it’s a pony and a griffin. And it has nice colors.

The story I just finished, book 3, is the word-version of this scribble. Holes. Gaps. But that’s what revisions are for. Hopefully the finished product will–well–be art, and not a further mess.

The story I finished critiquing was somewhat the same. It was messy and unfinished, but beneath the plotholes and thin characters lurked a really good story. I’m hoping the author takes the time to really polish it, because it’ll shine. If not, well, it’ll be one more scribble posted to deviantArt (I mean Amazon) that people will glance at the preview, say, “Meh” and move on. But with polish, people will notice the sparkles and stick around for a longer look.

I’ve dumped “speedpaints” to DA before. They get a meh and a tiny bit of applause for effort. That’s it.

The same thing happens when folks dump a rough draft to Amazon. Passers-by glance at it, shrug and click to the next thing.

Of course, amazingly-painted masterpieces sometimes get that treatment, too. Maybe it’s the cover. Maybe the blurb is boring. Maybe the thumbnail’s composition looks lame. But given enough time (and if the author/artist pushes it on people), its hits/sales will start to climb. I’ve experienced this on Wattpad. It’s like a snowball you start rolling downhill. It takes a bit of pushing to keep it going, but after a while it gains momentum and rolls by itself.

I’m positively metaphorical today!

Anyway. Fix up those rough drafts. If you don’t know how, find somebody to critique it who does know. Give it your best shot and move on to something else.

Horseback rider sketches

I’ve been trying to do more sketches the last few days, but it’s just been one thing after another. Then I reinstalled Windows and you know how that goes. All your stuff is still there, but Windows doesn’t know about it, so everything gets a reinstall. Everything’s sure fast now, though.

I’ve been wanting to sketch more people on horseback, because it’s so funky to draw. The human body kind of settles into the horse’s back. I need more practice, but this was all I was able to squeak in before small people got in my lap.

Tomorrow I start school with the munchkins, so we’ll see how that goes. They’re very excited. I’m sure they’ll want to do school the instant they wake up in the morning.

Western Sonic step by step

I’ve wanted to draw a Western-themed Sonic pic for a while. Deciding what to include was the tricky part.

Yesterday I had a pic idea flash through my head. I grabbed my mouse and scribbled it out.

But that wasn’t quite it, so I did this one next.

I liked that better. Whoever draws Sonic with a horse, anyway? And why would he need one when he runs so fast? That’s the hilarity of a western-themed Sonic game.

I got out my tablet and refined it a bit.

And with a sigh I went in search of some reference for a horse’s head at that angle.

I also looked up dusters. This makes my third pic this year of someone wearing a leather duster. They’re just so awesome!

It was getting late and I wanted something presentable, so I slapped some color on it and called it good.

But there’s a few things wrong with it, like Sonic’s arm and the positioning of his spikes. I’m going to refine it a little tonight. Also I want some kind of a bloom effect around the edges, like they’re standing in bright, hot sunlight. I’ll have to experiment.

Cheaty horses with colors

And now you can see that I’m drawing Pokemon horses. The fiery one is Rapidash and the lightning one is Zebstrika, who will have lightning-shaped zebra stripes on him. I was messing with the background and their special effects, so I know where my light sources are before I start shading.

And I know zebras look more like donkeys, but I wanted it to look like a horse, dang it.

Cheating at horses

I feel like a sad, dishonest person, doing this.

But darn it, I suck at freehanding horses, and I have such short amounts of time in which to do art … LET’S TRACE THEM!

My references, sized and placed according to my first concept sketch:

Let me tell you, doing the sketch first, then looking for reference afterward … let’s just say you go through a LOT of stock photos.

And the trace:

Horses are extremely hard to trace, as well as freehand. I kept being amazed that what I thought I saw, and what actually existed in the photo, were two completely different things.

Now I can do the coloring. Watch me manage to botch their anatomy, even with a trace underneath. :-p