Friday, January 6, 2012


It’s been about a year since I’ve started taking drawing more seriously, and I figured that it was about time to put all the knowledge I’ve been trying to cram into my head to the test. Below are the results I’ve come up with, along with the different styles I’ve explored. When I set out, my goal was to make a 3D model in Maya that I could use to make an animation.

Andrea Boehlke
First concept drawing of Vikky Miller
As I started developing Vikky in my mind, there was one face that really struck me as a match; Andrea Boehlke from last year’s Survivor. The thing is, Andrea’s face is so strange that it’s beautiful. She kinda looks a mix between a super model and a rabbit. (Andrea, if you’re reading this, I don’t mean offense, you just have a really unique face, it’s awesome.) It’s fierce but soft, strong but delicate. It’s a perfect match for Vikky.

Anyways, this is the first concept drawing I did of Vikky Miller, back in the spring of last year. I really like this drawing; it’s simple, but I think it has appeal. (Although, my opinion on it could be somewhat slanted, because it was the first drawing I ever did that I was somewhat proud of.) I hate to admit this, but despite the fact that it’s so simple, it took me about a week and a half to finish it, just because I really had no idea what I was doing. Here’s a short time-lapse video of my progress on youtube.

After I established her face, I wanted to work on her body. I spent a couple days in the summer working on the shape. Here are a few images, but I wasn’t too happy with the way this one turned out. (I think I was bummed about stuff going on in my life, and I couldn’t focus.) Here I started playing with perspective more, but as you can see, I'm still struggling with it.

Body and perspective study for Vikky Miller
Once her body was established, I went into zbrush and began trying to sculpt her so that I could turn her into a 3D model. The problem I ran into was that she started looking like a character a video game character. I didn’t want, that, so I abandoned my initial look, and went with  a stylized manga look. 

Vikky Miller in a manga-ish style
I spent a lot of time trying to perfect this manga look, but most of the work done was inside Maya, and most of it was technical rather than artistic. (rigging, blendshapes, uv mapping, etc.) I think inside my workflow, I started losing focus on the end look, and I started sacrificing style for simplicity. I realize now, that as cool as the manga look is, it just doesn’t fit with the vision I have for this story. It’s just not gritty enough.  So here we are, back to the start, the design has come full circle, and I’m leaning toward my initial concept.

I highly recommend COMIC BOOK ILLUSTRATION WITH PHIL NOTO, it’s a short Gnomon workshop, and it really helped me. In it, he goes through his process for digital art creation. It’s pretty cool to watch someone work. He’s at the point where he can crack out a design in a few hours.
Phil Noto's work from the Gnomon workshop.

For this recent drawing I did of Vikky, it took me about three days. I started with a rough sketch, did it over more than a few times, and then started building it up. There is more I’d like to say,  like what I'd like to do next, but I feel like this post is getting rather long. I’ll write more in the next post. 

For some reason, I always start with the eyes and work my way out.
One of many very quick sketches.

My final result. 

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