Monday, 30 November 2015

Completed Fox and Wombat Characters

I did a little more work on these characters and I am now going to say that they are done. It is time to move onto something else. I have something in mind that will have a couple of characters in a complex environment. I hope I'm up for the challenge.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Wombat Christmas Card

I think this painting is almost done. I may find a few things that I still need to change but I'm pretty happy with it at this point.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Disgruntled Wombat Update

Here is where I am at so far with my disgruntled wombat painting. I decided to try Chris Oatley's oil pastel brush for this painting and I quite like the look of it.
I realized partway through painting that I was a bit confused about what were shoulders and what were elbows. I liked the design and energy of the pose of my initial sketch but it really didn't make a lot of sense. Darned anatomy.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Perspective Analysis

These are for a Magic Box assignment. In this assignment we are learning about the role of perspective in story telling. The screen shot is from the movie Sabrina starring Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Fox Villain

I'm not sure if I am completely done with my fox villain yet but it is close to done and I would really like to start something new. Starting a painting is always more fun than finishing one.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Disgruntled Wombat Christmas Card Design

I am designing a Christmas card especially for my brother. This Wombat is not happy about finding coal in his Christmas stocking.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Fox Villain Update

Here is where my fox villain is at so far. I've been avoiding the difficult parts until now but now I will have to tackle them. Hopefully I'll be able to come up with some solutions without too much trouble.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Fox Silhouette

I am working on my fox character. I think I came up with a pretty good silhouette for a three quarter view of the character. Now for the hard part!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Villianous Vulpes Vulpes Continued

I've made some changes on my design based on the advice from some of my fellow Magic Box students. My fox didn't look very villain-like. He looked much too friendly.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Villainous Vulpes Vulpes

I'm working on creating a fox villain character. I have a long way to go in developing this character but I think this drawing has some promise.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


It is the end of summer here. For many people in my area, summer means camping and sitting around the campfire any chance they can. S'mores are a favorite campfire treat so I thought I'd commemorate the end of summer with a little s'more amore.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

A Comparison Between Photoshop CS and Photoshop Elements

I've been asked to write a comparison between Photoshop Creative Suite and Photoshop Elements. I've actually never used Photoshop Creative Suite. However I have been learning digital painting from tutorials (by Oatley Academy and Ctrl Paint) that teach using Photoshop CS.

I have been using Photoshop Elements because it came as a free download with my pen tablet. You can buy Photoshop Elements for a reasonably cheap price as a one time download where as for Photoshop CS (now Photoshop CC) you must buy a monthly subscription. This will end up costing quite a lot in the long run, but you will always have the most up to date version. So the main benefit to using Elements is the price.

Elements does have  a lot of the same tools that CC has. It is basically a pared down version of CC. While I have been learning digital painting I have encountered a few roadblocks with Elements. It does not have certain tools or capabilities that CC does that I would find useful.

Canvas Rotation Tool
I found that drawing smooth lines and brush strokes to be very difficult in Photoshop. The ability to rotate the canvas is an important tool for achieving smooth lines. Unfortunately, Elements' canvas rotation tool is quite limited and you can only easily rotate the canvas 90 degrees at a time. With Photoshop CC (from what I understand) you can easily rotate the canvas at any angle. You can rotate at smaller increments in Elements but it is awkward and it also creates problems with the image when you straighten it again. the different layers will not register properly.

Warp Tool
The warp tool is a handy tool in CC that enables you to manipulate a selection. It is similar to the transform tool but it gives you much more control. The warp tool is especially important if you are going to be using photo textures in your artwork and you want them to wrap around painted objects.
Elements only has the transform tool. With the transform tool you can only manipulate the selection in a straight path. To manipulate the selection in a rounded way the warp tool is necessary. If you want to use photo textures and you are creating a relatively flat or collage style of art, the transform tool is probably all you would need.

Layer Groups
Elements does not have the ability to group layers together. Layer groups are important for organization. They also give you the flexibility to be able to work on the layers in the group either separately or as a whole. The more complex your paintings get the more likely you will require the ability to group layers. Having your painting well organized and using layer groups in a logical way will be especially important if you need to make changes at a later stage. This could be important if, for example, you need to satisfy a client or an art director.

If you are using photo textures, layer groups can become important if you need to patch together pieces of photo texture to cover an area. It will enable you to make the overlapping areas blend together better.

You will also require the ability to group layers if you want to create masks within masks.

There are so many things you can do in Photoshop. It can be quite baffling when you are starting out to figure out what the tools do and how to use them for digital painting. You will most likely only use a fraction of the tools available. Some artists limit themselves to only a few tools and yet they create amazing artwork. Having more tools does not  necessarily mean you will create better artwork. Photoshop Elements has less tools than Photoshop CC. That said, there are still many tools that I have not yet tried.

Good luck in your digital painting endeavors.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Dutch Master Continued

I'm still working on this. I was going to try to use some photo texture for the pants but the limitations of using Photoshop Elements 12 made it impossible to make it look good so I used a painted texture instead.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Dutch Master Lighting

I worked a bit on this painting trying to improve the lighting and making the jacket look more glossy. I probably could push the lighting further. The face could use some more refinement so I may still keep working on this.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Dutch Master Painting

I  added some details and texture to this painting. I'm not completely happy with it but I think I'll call it finished. I like the character and pose but I need a bit more practice with creating surface texture.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Dutch Master WIP

Here is where I'm at so far with my Dutch Master character. It is still a work in progress but I think I'm getting close to finishing it. I'm really getting more comfortable with digital painting now.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

John Brocke Exhibit at the Glenbow

If you are going to be in Calgary between June 6 and September 13, go and have a look at my uncle, John Brocke's paintings at the Glenbow Museum.
John was a great artist and a great guy. His artwork is stunningly beautiful. My favourite paintings of his are John, Dovey, and John and Sojourners.
To really appreciate his work you have to see his paintings in person. I once heard him say that he wanted people to enjoy his paintings both from at a distance and from just a couple of inches from their face. Many of the paintings are quite large but they are painted in a very detailed way using tiny brushstrokes.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Masking Characters

This is another assignment for the Magic Box course. We are to create characters using masks in photoshop to help us get used to masking as well as to help us generate ideas for characters. I think I'll do a few more to come up with a character that I want to develop further.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Friday, 1 May 2015

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Photoshop practice

Well I've really struggled with learning to paint in photoshop. I think I probably shouldn't have made the Fancy Animal assignment from the Magic Box course as my first try at it. This is where I'm at with it right now and I'm not very happy with it and I seem to keep making it worse every time I work on it. I am learning a lot though and I'll likely start over again with it.
I decided that I needed to do something a bit simpler so I've taken a picture from Preston Blair's Advanced Animation (first edition) that I got from Animation Resources and used it for painting practice. These drawings are perfect for this because they are so simple and yet every line is informative and describes the shape and form of the character.
I practiced some of the photoshop lesson that I learned on Matt Khor's Ctrl Paint tutorials.
I traced the drawing using the paintbrush tool in black and kept that on a separate layer. Then I painted in the whole character silhouette with a bright red. I used the locked transparent pixels to roughly paint in the main colors over this. I then used clipping masks to refine my painting over this. I used the locked transparent pixels to color the line work and then just added a bit more detail and smoothed out the lines on top of that.  It worked quite well and I'll probably use this approach again. I used Chris Oatley's Carlson brushes for all of the painting. His brushes are amazing!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Easter Robin

Here is a new drawing I did to celebrate Easter. I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


I made this image for Illustration Fridays topic Reflection. I've had the idea and a rough sketch of this for a long time. I got the idea for this painting from an experience while visiting my sister. My sister has a great view of the lake from her place and a couple of times I got to see a great blue heron fly in close to the shore. They seem like such magical creatures.
I intended to do this in Photoshop and give it a painterly look but I started working in Drawplus (a vector based program) to plan out the painting. I still want to do the painterly version. I've started the clouds but that's as far as I've got.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Anne of Green Gables

I've been reading Anne of Green Gables and was inspired to paint a picture of Anne. Anne of Green Gables really is a wonderful Canadian classic.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Wild Rose

Here is a new flower design that I just finished. It is a detail for a part of another picture I am working on.