Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Subway Sketchery


                        A big shout out to Bobby + Kei over at Imaginism studios...(check them out in the links) for introducing me to one of my now favorite pastimes.  I started doing this a few years ago, and it's really the only life drawing I do nowadays.  It's immeasurably educational...you learn so much about people, in addition to the fundamentals of proportion, form and character.

     I have about 10 sketchbooks full of these...it's great, there aren't 2 that are alike.  It's also my introductory course into caricaturing (a skill I have yet to master, though I'll get the hang of it someday).  Most people never notice I'm drawing them, I think it's important to make sure I don't make anyone feel awkward...after they're the ones who are doing me a favor, I should be considerate to their comfort level.  I learned some tricks though...choosing already occupied subjects (reading, talking, sleeping, etc),  using periferal vision to spy on people until their attention is elsewhere, using multiple subjects for 1 pose (someone else's  nose or mouth on the face).  The important thing is to keep your momentum, be polite and be considerate.

                           Having fun with composition....
                   Playing with pens!

                                                 And colour!

SUBWAY SKETCHING--do it everytime you're on the damn train.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Freakiest thing I ever drew...and a word about colour.

      This came from a nightmare after eating too much gelato.
I have to admit, I'm a bit of a chromaphobe...(defined as: scared poopless of colours).  This is a shameful confession...I think back to the Wizard of Oz; at the point in the film where she lands in Oz and everything has gone from old-timey black and white to brilliant new eye-searing technocolor.  The colours assault the viewer, skewing reality and making this new world magical and fantastic.  This is a power only colour has...a power I've mostly steered clear from, mostly due to disinterest though certainly born in fear.
     So, now I play with colour and though it's daunting, I'm filled with joy at even my biggest failures.  This image is soooo much more horrifying with the cotton candy palette rather than some monochromatic greyed out scheme that I'd normally concoct.  I have a tendency to be muddy in the shadows and not push contrasts enough...but identifying one's weaknesses is the first step in eliminating them, so I'm confident I'll improve quickly.
     Anyway, please feel free to comment with your experiences with the POWER OF COLOUR...or creepy gelato nightmare men.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


        A few years back, I really got into Deadwood.  Man, that show was cool...visceral, unapologetic and very thoughtful.  Also, violent as all hell and the brilliant dialogue was very generously peppered with so much profanity, it could make Joe Pesci crap his pantaloons.  I do not recommend doing what I did, watching the entire series without intermittent breaks of normal TV...you will fall into the illusion.  Sure, you won't think you're in an outlaw-led frontierstown in 1878...but your speech might devolve into something that sounds more like this:

Mine did for a bit...proof that there is such thing as too much of a good thing.  It's a weird feeling when you notice something has directly influenced your behavior...it becomes a part of your character, part of you, just as much as your politics or belief system.  Luckily, I've now shaken off all the bad influences that HBO branded into me...now please excuse me, I have to re-watch the Wire for the fourth time. 'Cause that's how we do. 

So, these sketches are not of anyone in particular in the show...they were mostly done in transit, all just for fun--so you may see some random subway sketches in there. 
Cheers,  Matt

Sunday, October 17, 2010


OOOOoooo....spoooky monsters! 
My brother and I are in the concept stage of developing a video game based on "Guess Who?"--except with monsters.  The Lyon brothers are so much more boss than the Parker Brothers.   
So, this is a few days into development...I was still trying to find a good voice/style to draw these guys by.  I was overcomplicating basic head shapes thus the stiff features on the upper chars.  After stepping back and taking a deep cleansing breath, I went back to the old standards...circle, square and triangle and found success when I coupled it with simple, very cartoony features. 

Some of you will understand the momentum you get when it seems the pencil can do no wrong.  Life is scribbled into the page and you feel more like a facilitator than a creator.  Art just comes channelling through you, and you're just trying to get it down on paper before the tap is turned off.  These are great times...

Here was the next set, once I really caught my stride and started playing around with more basic shapes:

    It helps more once you start contextualizing them...make one guy angry, but think of a reason WHY he's angry...maybe someone stole his lunch...maybe someone scissor kicked his momma in the face.  Both of those instances land on different points of the anger spectrum...but both are equally legitimate types of anger.  The more background story your chars have, the more it makes for a solid, layered and tangeable character.

Here's the page I used to loosen up and find a cartoony style.  That's Chris my brother on the bottom right.

Cheers guys,


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sketching and Kvetching for all!

        The best way to get to know how I work/think is to go through the drawings in my sketchbook.  I'm rarely without one and to me it's like a diary.  I can look at the pen/pencil strokes of any sketch from any book of the past 10 years and tell immediately how and what I was feeling and thinking when I scribbled it down.  It's mirror-like sometimes.  I can see myself in my art and I'm often having a bad hair day.  Still, unshaven and cowlicked, here I am for the world to see, touch and taste.
      So, I'll be uploading 1 sketch every day or 2 with a little explanation to accompany it...I might drop in some paintings and animations if I get into a nice swing here.  Some days it'll be short and sweet, others will be long and ugly, but it'll all be me--hopefully they'll all be worth your time and patronage.

I figured the best thing to start with is a sketch of my good lady wife and I.

       Those of you who were cool enough to catch a wedding invite last year (you had 2 chances) got a look see at the caricatured brand/logo of our wedding.  This is one of the premature sketches I really liked, but decided to go with the more stylized one.  The rope we're holding on to represents one of the rituals in a traditional Filipino wedding...though it's supposed to be around our necks...but in a good eternal-bond kind of way.  It was interesting trying to mesh a graphic style in there...my pants and shoes become one flat shape, but I think the illusion holds.  Here's the one we went with:

      Yeah, I know, she's a pretty lady.

      More sketches and kvetches to come soon!