pencil sketch

Cowboys And Aliens

A few weeks ago, I ran across a replay of the Cowboys And Aliens movie on TV. (Spoiler Alert: the movie contains cowboys, indians and ALIENS). In the opening scene, a really interesting looking cowboy with a stove pipe hat rides into the story. Thinking he was a really unique character, I quickly sketched him and later that weekend I scratched some color onto my drawing.


Pirate Crabs… AAarrrgghhh

I was recently asked over on Facebook how I came up with ideas, so here is my process on a current project. The assignment; come up with five underwater scenes for a game. The first thing I do is start sketching rough little ideas that pop into my head related to the subject.


The pirate crab looking through a telescope grabs my attention, so I head off in that direction. What can I add to that to create a scene? What sort of underwater props can I use? Well duh, a cannon, of course… and there would need to be a whole band of these crazy pirate crabs… and they have to be pillaging and terrorizing somebody (in a friendly way, of course)… and magically, somehow, the underwater pirate crab scene unfolds beneath my pencil.


I lay a fresh piece of paper over my blue pencil sketch and using a light table, I create a cleaner pencil drawing to work from.


I scan the clean pencil drawing into Photoshop and away we go…


A Good Pencil Sharpener

Hey, there’s nothing more interesting than some good pencil sharpener talk on a Friday afternoon, right?

Over the years I have worn out half-a-gazillion electric pencil sharpeners. Recently I bought several new ones… well… what I should say is, I kept buying different brands and taking them back and trying other brands because none of them would put a decent point on a pencil. The point the new electrics put on a pencil officially became the new standard for what a fully dull pencil should look like…


…so I gave up on electric pencil sharpeners altogether and decided to go low-tech. I bought a Kum (hand-held) Long Point Sharpener. I have found it to be most excellent. It is a two step system. The first hole sharpens only the wood and the second hole puts a great point on the pencil.

I thought I would miss the convenience of an electric pencil sharpener, but I have quickly gotten used to sharpening pencils by hand… plus I can take this sharpener with me anywhere I go.

My Somewhat Unconventional Pencilling Process

Over the course of the last several years, I have worked with a lot of high quality art materials; expensive watercolor papers, high end illustration boards, hot and cold press bristols, you name it, I’ve worked on it… so it was a bit of a shock when I looked down and realized I now work on cheap card stock from Walmart and copy paper from Staples. How in the world did that happen? Here is my somewhat bizarre pencilling process…

I really like the feel of Georgia-Pacific Card Stock to do my loose pencil work on, but it only comes in an 8.5X11 size. That is a bit small and I usually run out of room.

On this picture, I ran out of room on the right side of the page, so I just taped a little more paper onto that side. Then I needed more space at the top, so I taped a little more up there, too.

Very professional, eh? It is now time to do a clean pencil to work from. For this I like the feel of Staples Laser Copier paper.

Of course, it is too small also, so I tape a couple of those together and use a light table to redraw a tighter version of my loose sketch.

I scan that tighter pencil sketch into my computer, fire up Photoshop and I’m off to the races with the color work.