September 25, 2015

Color Study: Arabian Nights

Some people call these film studies. Occasionally I do this for practice. Especially during periods of intense sketching and design because it provides a little bit of a break to make observations.

Below is a copy of a shot from Arabian Nights (1942).

August 2, 2015

Figure Drawing Palo Alto

This is a group that I attend every now and then in Palo Alto hosted in a spacious community center near Stanford. It's not geared toward animation or games or anything, but it's a solid group and by far the least expensive in the Bay at only $8.

Colored Pencil on Newsprint.

July 28, 2015


More caricatures of people I work with. Lately, I've strayed away from the straight caricature by incorporating gags and lettering. The challenge is to suggest their personality by drawing them into a funny situation. Plus the illustration style itself has to sell the idea.

June 17, 2015

Background Design Process: The Comedy Club

This is another post focusing on my professional work at CrowdStar. I'm going to take you through my background design process.

First I started with a small marker sketch using iPad proportions (below). I also blocked in some values with a gray marker. Simply planning ahead will make my Photoshop job easier.

Scan it. Open it in Photoshop. And starting painting in a layer right on top. Watch the nifty 2 minute screen recording below! 


Check out the rough painting below. 

And the final vector illustration (below). This is what it would look like in the game with the HUD and the Funny Fish and some props.

June 16, 2015

Carolands Gate House

I took the plunge into the world of Plein Air recently. This is an 8x10 oil on hardboard. It's pretty rough. This is really my first oil ever. It's going to take a lot of practice to get good at this.

On another note, somebody called the cops on us. The citizens of Burlingame sent a clear message. Oil painting of historical buildings near their schools will NOT be tolerated. Anyway, here is Brandon's digital painting of the same site.

February 23, 2015

January 13, 2015


Happy New Year! Let's kick it off with some hand drawings. Some are copied from photos. Some are my own hands in front of a mirror. Always feels good to practice hands.

November 10, 2014


Another drawing of a co-worker at CrowdStar. I've done 30 or more of these over the years. But lately it's been like a fever. Soon I'll do a big post with all of my co-worker caricatures.

November 6, 2014

Palo Alto Figure Drawing

Occasionally, I have "off" nights when I'm not happy with my materials. Look at the range of depictions of this model. Only after switching tools several times was I able to capture the beauty of her twist and the sublime look on the her face (top) with a degree of looseness and tonality that made me happy. 

October 29, 2014

Adèle Wolf at Dr. Sketchy's SF

Adèle Wolf, "Oklahoma City's Burlesque Queen", came out to San Francisco to be drawn eagerly by Dr. Sketchy's folks. I tried to capture some of her dance moves, which was tough but I got some good seated poses.

Dr. Sketchy's usually asks the model to pick her favorite drawings. She chose one of mine (above). That always feels good. And if you're a #horrorfan, you'll notice that I incorporated the lettering from The Howling, a werewolf movie from the 80s.

October 6, 2014

Emily's Last Day

Lately, I've been developing my caricatures through acting and situations. Exaggerating them so that they almost become "Character Designs". Not just people that I know. My goal is to bring them to life through animation. I think only then can I call myself a Character Designer.

At any rate, this was a little gift to our former office manager at CrowdStar, obviously poking fun at her reticence.

September 25, 2014

City Sketches

More sketches from my corner of the universe.

This is kinda different because it was drawn on a piece of animation paper on a clipboard with a brush pen.

September 10, 2014

Figure Drawing – Michael Glenn

This is Michael Glenn from the Bay Area Model Guild. Mike has a TON of energy and enthusiasm for acting. Here he is (below) doing his best Investment Banker before and after the market crash, among other things.

What's he reaching for?

August 27, 2014

Game Background Process: High School U.S.A. – Fish With Attitude

I thought it would be cool do something different and show my design process from start to finish. I'm going to show you how I create an iPhone game background for Fish With Attitude. There is no interactivity or panning of the background itself, so I simply start with an iPad or iPhone sized box with a designated area at the bottom for props.

For this virtual fish tank, we needed a cartoon high school hallway for the Nerdy Fish to occupy. I want it to have a cartoony Saved By The Bell feel. Timeframe is 2-3 days to complete this background from sketch to fully rendered in color.

The first draft (below) is a 2 minute sketch.

The second draft (below) is the same layout but cleaned up. Probably around 10 minutes.

The first draft was approved because we agreed that the curviness suited the game and–more importantly–the character's personality. This rough Photoshop mockup (below) does a fine job of conveying the color and quality of my concept, but it needs more polish before going into the game.

The final background has to be rendered in Illustrator or Flash, because it needs to be scalable. It would take forever to tailor the background to every iPhone, iPod, iPad, Android, high res, low res, device on the market. Instead we use one vector background file which is scaled, stretched, and cropped for all phones and tablets. The final version (below) ended up a little brighter and deeper than my rough.

This is more or less what it would look like with Characters and everything layered on top.

Property of CrowdStar 2014

August 26, 2014

City Sketches

The picnic spot above 5 Guys Burger where the high school kids hang out. 

Mountain Lake park bench.

View of the Transamerica Pyramid from Washington and Taylor. 

The edge of the Presidio at night as the streetlights are coming on.