I’ve come to frequently use pose reference in my professional and personal illustration work, and there are a range of repositories and services out there for artists to use. One of the more fun resources is SenshiStock on DeviantArt, a pose reference account with a range of models and an outlook to convey the energy, heroism and sheer fun of popular Magical Girl manga / anime Sailor Moon.
SenshiStock ran an event in June challenging artists to draw a pose from reference every week day. Taking part, I found my digital drawing speed increasing, and I got more practised with the processes I came to use for building my drawings up.
Here’s a finished drawing next to the base I used to guide the line artwork:
I start by finding a Line of Action, although with this pose there was a choice of whether to draw it down the standing leg, or the raised one. My techniques are a pick-n-mix of different teachers’ recommendations, some Loomis, some Prokopenko, some from animation, some from fashion illustration classes and elsewhere. I like having an array of tools to deploy, and it’s refreshing to utilise them on a project focused on my personal learning, as well as having fun exploring.
There are some amazing artists showing their sketchbooks online, on Instagram, Pinterest, DeviantArt and so on. For a number of years I’ve been using a Tumblr platform for this and have just overhauled the design to show more images and offer visitors more to explore! Most recently I’ve started doing some colour digital painting practice, and I’ll continue to add more experimental and whimsical content over there as it emerges.
A couple of weeks ago I enjoyed an afternoon of meeting new and familiar faces and engaging with some (optional) drawing challenges in a friendly central London pub. I’d heard of the event via Twitter, eventually sourcing the chatter down to the @Art_Blitz Twitter account, through whom I registered (as there were limited spaces!)
Response to a challenge to reinvent an established comics character.
I was explaining what Takehiko Itou’s figure drawing style is like.
Inspired by a tomboyish Arya rendering on dA that I can’t find again…
Storm’s classic costume.
I found it refreshing to draw in the fun, social atmosphere, and it reminded me of the benefits and unwinding that forgetting your worries and simply doodling can do for an artist.
Art as play. Creative oxygen.
The Witchblade image has been coloured just today, using Manga Studio 5. I used a mix of the default tools, and some additional brushes by FRENDEN. Pleased to get nice results with tools I’m just getting acquainted with! Besides colours on that image, I’ve used a new Gillott 170 dip pen nib, the familiar stainless Japanese G-pen, and aquarelle pencils for colours on the ginger-haired boy.
Many thanks to Dean and Dave for organising the event. :)
On Thursday night I went to an event called #QuickDraw hosted by pre-launch arts organisation House of Illustration and established, free anthology comic Off Life. The latter have a good write-up of the event here, along with some choice drawings.
The format invited artists to respond to quirky, whimsical, or serious themes such as “My Daily Nemesis” or “A Message to the Government” with images created in 15 minute sprints. Combining imagery, skilful and popular guests, and hashtagging ensured a prominent social media footprint that I’m sure a lot of non-profits looking to market on a budget would envy.
Fifteen-minute challenge drawings. The MC shouts the topic, the artists get their pencils blazing in response at #QuickDraw !
Being in the thick of redesigning this very website, I didn’t stay until the end, but the above are my responses to the “What I Think About When I’m Drawing” and “My Daily Nemesis” prompts. (I banged my head into an Artist’s Block on the “Love in the 22nd Century” challenge, but sadly it didn’t contain a 1-Up.)
I also, happily, encountered a few friends, mentors, and inspirations:
ConceptArt.org forums present a great learning opportunity, one which I’ve started to participate in more. Here are some vehicles I designed as a response to a “Daily Sketch Group” challenge:
Listing my influences was fun, tho’ they were almost all games and anime from the 90s! :O Another interesting experimental part of how I tackled this was to use Manga Studio for the first time. As I’ve been practising my artwork more I’ve come to realise how at-home I feel using line to render stuff. Manga Studio made it feel pretty natural to be using line digitally.
emeraldsong is the creative practice of Emmeline Pui Ling Dobson