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Heads, hands, feet and penguins

Today I totally lacked inspiration for a cartoon, so I practiced heads, hands, feet and penguins. I started by reading Jack Cole’s instant cartooning course and drew these as a result.

The course recommends working on hands and feet a lot, so I tried drawing some hands. This is my hand.

And this is a sort of copy of my drawing of my hand, which isn’t so good and shows that it’s not drawn from life. But nice in pen.

Then I tried some feet.

Another foot from the front. Drawn with a Rotring B nib pen.

That’s enough of that! Let’s draw a cat!

Oh, ok, here’s my hand again.

Yes, that’s a little penguin next to it. A friend linked to a how to draw penguins course on the Guardian site. So I tried some…

We can do both at once, though, right?

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Reworked bad cat

I decided to try to rework the quick sketchy comic I did the other day.

This is a challenge and I often struggle with final versions of pieces – I find it hard to get the quality of line I want, and the colouring to look solid enough.

I’ve a theory that ruled lines around the boxes make for a far better finish, but today I tried a new approach – I ruled the lines in pencil and then went over them freehand in pen. I quite like the result, but I think ruled lines are probably better. I used the brush pen for the cat and various fine liners for the other line work. I was going to use the Rotring pens, but don’t trust them enough – I can’t always get a clean line.

I sketched this very roughly first, but probably should have worked it out a bit more before inking. I think I’d have got better cat expressions if I’d done that.

The major new thing here is that I drew it a3 – I know that creating these larger and reducing gives more opportunities for a clean result and I think that has pretty much worked.

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Here’s today’s picture.

I did the lettering with a Rotring M nib, the brush bits with the brush pen and used various widths of fine liner for the rest. Coloured with markers.

My brilliant brush pen doesn’t play well with my markers, which is a real shame and leads to some smudging. I probably should have used a different pen for the main lines on the cartoon, but I find it hard to resist the brush pen… I also did this on marker paper, but it would have worked better on bristol board, I think. Bristol board is better for erasing pencil and is just far more robust all round.

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More on the flying dog

I was thinking about a couple of things today. I started on ink techniques and using a brush for outline and colouring. That resulted in this.

My problem is I’m very impatient, so I didn’t let the outline ink dry properly before starting on the colouring. That resulted in the grey bits. I also didn’t think about the lights in the windows in the skyline at first, which is why the ones on the right don’t have any. I think it might have worked well to not have a black line around the moon, also.

After that I did some reading about inking techniques and thought more about the width of the line and using hatching to create shaded areas. That resulted in this.

I did this in pencil first and then used my brush pen for the main sections and a couple of finer pens for the other areas of black. Again, impatience got the better of me and I tried to erase the pencil lines before the ink was dry. That meant the drainpipe went very smudgy and I had to try to rescue it, so it has more happening on it than I’d planned and than I think works. I was trying to work out how to make sure the cat is probably seen in the frame. Partly, it’s ok because it’s well placed in the picture, but mostly I think it’s the lack of anything else in the background to pull the eye that allows it to be seen. Not sure. I tried editing the picture on my computer to reduce the black on the drainpipe. Do you think it’s better?

I think I prefer it with less drainpipe. And here it is with an additional shading layer, which I think makes it better. I initially had the door the same shade as the walls, but when the door in the alley is darker it pulls the eye a bit more and creates more depth in the alley.

I’ve a lot to learn…

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Competitive blue dogs

These are my favourite sorts of dogs to draw right now. The one on the right is drawn using a Pentel brush pen, which is just lovely, and then coloured in with a Copic marker. The one on the left is drawn with a Rotring artPen, which is what I used for the cats earlier in the week but doesn’t work so well with solid colour here. It’s coloured in with a Tria marker. I like the Tria markers, but they have a design flaw which means some of them dry out. As such, I’ve been considering moving to Copic. Blue is the natural colour for my dogs.

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Experiments with watercolour (and using up an old pad)

Here are today’s dogs. I had an old pad to use up, which led to some annoying results with some smudging. I also had a look at a cartoon book about how to draw dogs, and tried to put that into practice.