Work In Progress: Revisiting Some Old Wilhelm Concept Art

Work In Progress: Revisiting Some Old Wilhelm Concept Art

As expected, the summer schedule is mucking with my studio schedule, which means art making is more sporadic, leading to inconsistent site updates. My apologies. I am somehow still managing to make progress towards some goals, but it is slower than I’d like.

Anywhat, this happened a few nights ago:

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Some good ol’ fireside sketching.

The boys built a fire pit last summer, and we’ve been trying to make good use of it. I hadn’t done much drawing in the previous two weeks, tied up with the normal summer “life” obligations as well as creating a business card for a relative (which was quite fun. I watch a lot of Photoshop tutorials to help learn my way around the software, much of them being photo editing related. I still pick up new tricks and learn how to use some of the other functions and tools that I can apply to digital drawing and painting, and making that business card allowed me to play around with some “new” tricks), so I decided I’d take my sketchbooks with me to that night’s fire. At first I couldn’t decide whether or not I wanted to do some nature studies or draw from my imagination. Clearly I decided upon imagination.

Started with a pencil sketch in my sepia pad, then started inking with my Copic Multiliners.

Started with a pencil sketch in my sepia pad, then began inking with my Copic Multiliners.

It took quite a while for the creative juices to warm up, I guess the physics of fire do not apply to the imagination. Eventually I decided I wanted to draw a character from Wilhelm (that’s the other graphic novel idea that’s been brewing in my brain since 1998). He’s a monk type of character with a cool (in my opinion) robe. He’s got a rough character back ground at this point, and every once in a while my brain reveals a new piece of information about him.

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The “finished” inks. Sort of.

This sketch became a perfect example of my impatience and desire to move on to the details and the fun of “mark making”. The perspective is wonky, his legs are too long (I tend to make figure’s legs too short, I was trying to be mindful of that, but I guess I over compensated), his right hand is HYOOGE, and his head is dumb. And his pose is boring. I got really frustrated with this piece, and decided I was going to redraw it. As I was working on it, my brain started letting me know what was going on in this scene, and it just calls for a more dynamic composition. It will also wind up as a digital painting (I’m hoping to have a few pieces to submit to Spectrum again this year. My chances of getting in are always ridiculously small, but they’re nonexistent if I never enter, and submitting is a means to push myself to improve).

 

Toby-Gray-dragon-monk-sketch-3

Some sketches for the “redo”.

My brain told me the Dragon Monk was on a pilgrimage to the Pagoda Forest (there’s a real one at the Shaolin Temple, which is part of the recipe in my subconscious that produced this idea) to meditate amongst the tombs of his temple’s ancestors. As he nears his destination, high up in the mountains (the Pagoda Forest was built on the highest mountain so the ancestors could watch over the world…we’re talking about my imaginary Pagoda Forest, not the real one), he encounters an adversary that should not be there, making it’s way towards the temple. I had drawn this Dragon Monk character a decade or so ago, squaring off with an attacker, before I knew much about him other than what his robe looked like.

Toby-Gray-dragon-monk-original-drawing

The original sketch from a decade or more ago when I created this character.

This was around the same time I drew the Spirit of the Earth character. I was trying to find ways to integrate traditional drawing and painting with digital, and I was experimenting with drawing, scanning, touching up, printing, painting, rescanning, and adding effects and details. Tedious to say the least.

Toby-Gray-dragon-monk-original-color-study

The drawn, scanned, touched up, printed and painted color study. I was using acrylic washes, which got kind of muddy and imprecise in my hands.

With this new image I’ll be working on, I want to increase the tension, as well as add some more visual narrative to it. Right now I’m thinking long landscape format, almost letter boxed, to help capture what’s in my head.

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A few thumbnails indicating where I’m going with this.

I’m still playing around with the composition. Overall I like the direction I’m headed, but I need to avoid having the figure smack dab in the middle. I’m seeing a lot of atmosphere and depth of field in my head for this piece, something I feel like I struggle to capture in my drawings. This will be a good exercise to get better at it.

So, that’s one of several projects I’m working on. I seem to be avoiding the 10 Things book for some reason, but I will go back to it (I’m guessing the week I’ll be spending at Cub Scout camp with 2 of my boys will probably get me thinking about that one again). I’ve also been working hard to get the tshirt endeavor launched. I’ve done a lot of the tedious formatting for both the product display images on Etsy as well as the printable images for Print Aura, and I’ve been uploading the designs to Print Aura, which is another time consuming process. Once all the images of various types are uploaded to their respective cyber homes, I’ll need to do the actual listings and coordination between the sites, set up new checking and PayPal accounts, yada yada yada. It’s a slow process as a stay-at-home dad, but at least there’s progress.

Oh, and if you’ve stuck with me through this entire post, here’s a glimpse of another shirt design that will eventually be available:

Toby-Grayt-plunger-chucks-yellow-and-purple-yang

PMD channeling Bruce Lee…

About the Author:

My brain makes me draw stuff that isn't there, and this is where I put it.

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