The Pros and Cons of Drawing After Bedtime


So, about fifteen minutes or so before bedtime, I had the sudden urge to create.  I decided Dianne has had enough of my attention for the time being and went back to my page of Red expressions.  I actually started on two expressions a day or two ago, but failed to generate anything but frustration and disappointment ( you can see some of the leftovers of that experience in the bottom left hand corner).

First I decided to finish up the crying sketch I started but gave up on.


Reference for this emotion.




Where I left off the other day…



I started to see the areas of opportunity once I rotated the image and referred back to my head turn-around.


Next I chose one of the “Smirking” poses out of the book.



Pulled out my full body sketch to ensure I was getting as close to the intended proportions as possible.


Something I’ve been noticing more often now that I’ve been drawing so consistently and pushing volume more.  I’m not sure what they call these little slivers of an edge that stick out.  It’s like my first gut reaction to where the edge of the shape is – plus this little extra that peeks out only after I’ve found that first edge… I’m sure it’s a known thing… probably something they mentioned somewhere in my many years at school… but I forgot.  :(

Anywho, I’ll be looking for it in the future as it seems to be helping me move my drawings further and further into the third dimension.


So, at this point it was about two hours past my bedtime and while I had acquired a healthy does of motivation, I was loosing focus.  Should have took a small break, maybe grabbed a snack… Anyway, I started thinking about the confident (almost heroic) pose and how it would really fit Red before life threw a monkey wrench at her.

I must have been thinking about her in a confident pose in her Futuristic Sport outfit (Not sure of the name of the sport yet, using Calvin Ball as a placeholder simply because of how I’m merging so many different sports together that any onlookers wouldn’t be able to understand the rules/concepts of the game… almost as if they were making it up as they went… hence the name Calvin Ball), because the next thing I know I was using circles to signify the planes of the side of her head and forehead and then this happened.



Seeing as this is the only image I have of what those suits look like, I decided to run with it.


I felt like I was loosing the aerodynamic feel to her helmet, so I went ahead and threw in the towel for the day… got some grub and put all the sketches together.


I like the level of comfort I get drawing Red each time I complete one of these sketches.  It feels less and less foreign and more natural.  Looking forward to my next drawing session, hopefully when I have more time on my hands.


“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

Dianne Masantra (part 3)


I believe I’ve said this before, but I don’t need to start my drawings/paintings out as portraits and then convert them to a full body rendering.  It is quite the pain in the butt, but as I’ve done it a couple times now, it pains my arse less than before.  :)

Off to work with me.






“We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.”  – H. G. Wells

Dianne Masantra (part 2)


So, when I started exploring Dianne again, I decided to take everything I liked about the last drawing and push it further.  I’ll probably end up changing the patterns on her forehead and end up adding some more elsewhere.  Some of the extra details for the uniform came from this digital painting as well.  Eventually I’m going to have to do a serious breakdown of the uniform and how it works… It’ll be fun to finally reveal how the extra long under-sleeves work.


I think initially I was scared that the previous drawing had Dianne’s eyes a bit too small, so this time around I enlarged them.  I might go back and find a balance between the two.


Fortunataly, I can be quite hard headed sometimes, because I almost quit working on it about here.  I often forget there are what I call “ugly stages” during the process.  These places where you’re moving from one plateau to the next where the work looks better in the last stage, but will look better than it does right now in the next, you just gotta make it that far.  I kept at it.


I have a bad habit of loosing the structure when I’m moving forward… I gotta remember that the line work acts as the skeleton, so when I’m fleshing them out in colors I can loose that framework.


I kinda like that her braid looks like a tiara, I might push that further.  It got crooked during the course of this painting.


I actually used the patterns on her forehead as a guide like a wireframe on a 3D model so I could tell where the planes of her face were.  Same thing with the ears and sides of her face.




I found it humorous when I associated her large ears with the Ferengi from Star Trek.  lol


So far, Dianne is the tallest character in the story at just over 6 feet.

Zoomed out this far, I can see more of where I lost the shape of my head when I was adding the lighter tones to the sides of her forehead and cheekbones.

Work, work, work, work.


“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dianne Masantra (part 1)


Figuring out who Dianne is has been quite the interesting experience.  As with most of my characters that weren’t Red and Blue, they started as little shadows, hazy two dimensional characters that acted like Dr. House’s team, basically there for Red and Blue to bounce things off of and help move the two of them through the story.

But as time passed, they’ve grown and taken on a life of their own.  Each one taking turns in the spotlight, each one stoically sitting under the microscope as I scrutinize their every action, motive, and emotion.  With each session, I become surer of who they are and they in-turn become more firmly planted in reality.


I first started with general shapes, looking to help keep a consistent look by being able to have shapes and proportions to refer to.  Then I looked through a library book about people from India.  I wanted her to have a lot of those features and general feel, so my next couple of sketches pushed in that direction.


My initial results were lack luster, but they held some characteristics that I liked.  I was looking at a couple different reference sources, playing with facial feature proportions in order to achieve a younger look.  But I got weird results and I decided to take a break and spend some time on another character instead (translation = I got down on myself, came to the conclusion I couldn’t draw, threw a tantrum and consumed large quantities of entertainment to forget the pain of my failure).

But then I got my Wacom back, got myself inspired and charged head first into the unknown (weeks later).


My source of inspiration came from being bored and picking up one of my many library books laying around my work room.  This one was Walter Foster’s How to Draw Classic Heads and Faces.


There’s an elegant/timeless quality about the illustrations in the book and when I ran across this image I knew instinctively who it reminded me of… which is a weird thing to say about someone you’ve only ever imagined.


Using this as a point of departure, I began to lose myself in the process.


(I like the third the best)
At this point I’d already decided to no longer keep the story contained on Earth and had begun to writing the rough history of the planet and its people groups. The circle on her forehead was in the original sketch to help with the consistency of shapes and structure, but seeing as I was already leaning towards making Dianne’s features somewhat South Asian, I left it more pronounced.

The idea to make it a tribal like tattoo came from a couple of different places that eventually connected together and became inseparable.

  • The tattoos are an older cultural symbol of the early Dhiatian warrior class,
  • Children who reach a certain age are given these facial tattoos by priest/artist like peoples (who are revered because of the culture’s love and respect for all things geometric and symmetric).
  • The tattoos aren’t limited to the face, but are suppose to compliment the person…
  • This people groups modern descendants don’t really follow these ways anymore, those that do are considered traditionalists (need to search through a thesaurus for a better word) like Dianne’s father.
  • Dianne is a daddies girl and is into history because of her father’s interest into traditional Dhiatian customs and values
  • Her name is a variation of an older translation of the word Dhiatian.

To Be Continued…


“The best advice I’ve ever received: ‘no one else knows what they are doing either.”  – Ricky Gervais

Express Yourself


Really wanted to explore some expressions today.  I understand the need for the turn-arounds (both the head and the full body ones), it’s how I’ve been able to keep Arissa with a fairly consistent look so far.  But they can be quite the burden creatively.  Too straight forward maybe.  Anyhow I’ve still got some exploration to do on Verena before I’ll get her down pact, but I have this sneaky feeling that it’ll come in time.  Until then, we’re working on some of the finer points of Red.

I’m using several different resources to accomplish this.  First, and most importantly are my collection of images I’ve created of Red so far.

Faces_v0.8 Wink_v1.3 IMG_1168


Already, I’m outgrowing some of these and moving in different directions.  Some is the characters themselves growing, but mostly I feel I’m getting more comfortable with drawing again.  That stretch of working in my sketchbook really helped too.  Not to mention my recent studies of the human head thanks to all these library books I have (like 20 at the moment).

Speaking of Library books, my second set of resources comes from my growing collection of library books.  In this case the Draw Manga Faces for Expressive Characters, by Aya Hosoi, published by IMPACT.


Weirdly the authors name on the front of my book has the first last/last first names in the opposite order… I wonder if this is one of those Japanese translation things?  The back of the books, “about the author” section also writes it Aya Hosoi, but the Amazon webpage (where I snatched the image from) writes it Hosoi, Aya.

Strange the things that bother you at 5am in the morning.


The expressions themselves are pretty simple and straight forward.  The real source of winning, is the shear amount of them.  The book boasts “more than 900 faces,” and although I have managed to resist the urge to count them to ensure the legitimacy of this claim, I will attest to there being a high volume of expressions packed in the 180 or so pages.

I appreciate the simplicity of the line work used to portray the emotions and although they do aid some of these depictions with Anime’s/Manga’s visual language, most of them are easily readable.  So, when drawing I’ve started off using these simple lines/arches/etc as a starting point.


Fortunately, I didn’t think to save the struggle that happened between these two images.  I drew the hand by her face first and then drew the arm… which didn’t want to cooperate at all.  I eventually ended up twisting her body, which fixed the problem for me.  But I almost stopped for the night here.



It’s probably something I picked up from my time spent learning to model in the 3D software Maya (where I can first remember really understanding/seeing volume), but I tend to draw wire-frames over the body to help my visualize the surface and volume while I’m drawing.


I initially wasn’t going to place any bodies on them, just the heads, but that second one I really wanted to portray that sense of laughing so hard you have to hold your stomach.  Like she’d soon be doubled over in a visual pose of LMAO.  :)

In the end I’ll probably do a whole bunch of these for all my main characters and probably the supporting characters too and just pick the best ones to go into my character sheets.  Had to stop on this one because it’s getting late/early, and it’s time for my nightly battery recharge.

Tomorrow I’ll probably post some more of these or my latest painting of Dianne.


“Better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than in the middle of some ladder you don’t, right?”  – Dave Eggers, The Circle

Lip Chewer


Haven’t quite nailed down what I want to do with her hair, but I feel like I’m getting closer.  Her face and height are right, and her expression (although completely accidental) fits her character so well.


Still using almost the exact same process as before, although instead of going over the blue line-work with black and go for a ink like look, I opted to throw a Hue and Saturation adj layer on top of it and soften it to a brownish blue instead of pure black.  I felt like if I’m going to find a balance between cell shading/coloring and digital painting, I need to get away from the heavy ink lines that are more closely tied to western comic book art style.

I’ll probably do one more row as I render her further, I’m still using 100% brush right now, just focusing on shapes and creating volume at the moment, but I know from experience that when I start pushing the digital painting/rendered look; I’ll need that solid foundation.

I’ve got some ideas on how to add some interest/details to the uniform to help bring it to life more.  I’ve been noticing that although I wanted something simple when I initially design it, what I got was just a starting point and like everything so far I need to be open to change.  This whole thing so far has been quite the learning process.

One I’m enjoying more and more.


“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.”  – Oprah Winfrey



Red and Verena

It seems like I had already posted this, but I guess I didn’t… Just got my internet connection in the house, man it feels good to be typing this from my desktop and not my phone.  :)  lol  I got my WACOM back too and I have one of my computers up and running, but I’ll have to see if I can resuscitate Ling Tsu to life.  Still not sure if it was a Power Supply or Motherboard issue that brought her down oh so many moons ago, but I’m ready for her return.

Verena has grown quite a bit and when I post some art later, you’ll see she is still growing.  Dianne has also seen some huge leaps in growth too.  Really excited about posting those images soon.

The story itself has taken a huge leap as well, as I recently decided to move it from taking place on Earth and placing it on another world entirely.  A bold move, but one I hope will pay off in the future.  Without the framework of Earth, I feel I’ll be able to create a more interesting world and environments for this story to live and breathe in and already I’m having a blast putting it all together and doing the research.

World Building

Been hording this book from the library with every intention of rechecking it out as soon as all my renews are up.  B-)  I’m only just starting to figure out what I want to be different about my world, but as I’m only a couple chapters in, I’m starting to see my options open up and horizons expand out into infinity.

The book itself can be a bit heavy at times, but it’s a great resource.  Especially for someone as nerdy as me when it comes to learning the science behind things.  I love knowing how it all works.


Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.  – Thomas Jefferson