View Full Version : Anatomy Thread of .: Mr. Mu :.

Pages : 1 2 3 [4]

02 February 2009, 09:51 PM
Thanks Johan!

I had my problems with the mechanical pencil. While it stays sharp in theory it quickly becomes wedged at the tip when doing a lot of shading and then when you try to use the edge of the tip it slips back into the plane you have been using it in before which makes getting a thin line down on the paper hard.

Enter this tool:

Previously, I thought this must be the most superfluous innovation ever. But since today I consider getting one...

(btw, cool tools is a great website, I check it out almost daily).

02 February 2009, 12:34 AM
preliminary "semi-final" pic of the self portrait as creature OFDW:

click for lager version without so many artefacts and all: (

02 February 2009, 07:27 AM
Cool pencil.. I wonder though... these leads go pretty fast if you use this kind of pencil for shading... when they are being shaprened they'll go even faster.
Also, I kinda like it that they become wedged because it allows for smoother shading.

But you're right, if you want really sharp lines, nothing beats a normal pencil, sharpened with a cutter knife.

About your IFW entry, I think the bridge of the nose can use some highlights.
The scales could use more volume I think, they appear kinda flat.

I like the dark mood you've created in this piece

02 February 2009, 11:43 AM
Hey Johan,

I realized the pencil is sold out, anyway...o.0

I am working with both a wooden and a mechanical pencil right now.

Alenah did a paintover which I will use as a guide for taking my entry one step further (hopefully to "final")

more Hogarth:

02 February 2009, 07:40 PM
the final final entry...:D

value correction on the left eye and texture added:

02 February 2009, 09:08 AM
nice work Mr Mu :thumbsup: maybe you should have pushed te colors more.. But that's probably a personal feeling ;) Anyway it's turned out great!

02 February 2009, 10:49 AM
Hey Mu
Thatsssssssa nicccce painting you made

02 February 2009, 10:55 AM
.. yes Mu, nice :)
and the texture gave it even stronger impact, good job!

02 February 2009, 08:39 PM
yarabe- thank you! I am too insecure in the use of colours, because I mainly did greyscale these last years. I am only slowly growing into hue and saturation...:D

Johan- Didn't know you were a parselmouth...:scream:

alenah- thanks so much again for your time and help!

just relaxing a bit... don't know where the horizontal lines are from, btw... sorry

02 February 2009, 09:21 PM
and a few quick greyscales before bedtime. gnight everybody.

02 February 2009, 05:27 AM
LOL the girl with the ponytails saying "Jamais" looks so like my oldest daughter!
Had a great laugh with that one :D

You should do these more often Mu
They don't take too long and you can always find a piece of paper around to draw these lil doodles... whether your at the office or at the station waiting for a train... plenty of "dead" moments in a day, right?

Awesome to see you this active on the forum again btw!

02 February 2009, 05:35 PM
LOL, when I added the text balloon saying "jamais" I was thinking of you and that I didn't know wether you're in the french speaking part of belgium, but that you might probably be able to relate to a heartfelt "jamais" - but I didn't know that you would relate to the drawing so much....:scream:

Yes, I had a tough year putting much energy in both my job and my writing/music which really paid off... but I realized that I got to far into drawing to let it wane into a "formerly interested in".
I plainly missed drawing and painting very much and can't think of a better place to keep studying it.
I will probably never visit an art school of any kind, but I'll learn as much as I can by myself and with the help of you folks...:)

02 February 2009, 08:05 PM
Just in case you think I totally lost it...:D

No, I did not. I am practising cartoon stylization, because drawing a comic is a long time secret dream of mine (if you are still around when I have gotten better, you will be confronted with a few other longterm secret illustration dreams of mine...:D )

Anyway, the wednesday comic thread in the DSF inspired me to just go and try my hand at drawing a comic, so I started to transcribe a sci-fi short story of mine I had published in a german IT-mag a few years ago which lends itself to a project like this.

In the meantime, I am practising cartoon drawings with the help of one of Ben Caldwell'S books (namely this one here (

That's why...:)

02 February 2009, 05:54 PM
hey there,

in case you're interested in the comic script I am going to put into a comic:


02 February 2009, 08:56 PM
Wow cool!
I'll read it tomorrow at work :)
Thanks for sharing!

Keep drawing!

02 February 2009, 01:39 PM
my take on post-acolyptic survival bunny. Partying hard, smoking being the first thing in the morning.

02 February 2009, 11:20 PM
Starting point for my value work.

I want to do a concept of a character, so the bg will get a narrow value range, whereas the figure will get a full value range and an even thicker ink outline.

EDIT: Oh, and I realize I need to post in other people's threads more often...:blush:

02 February 2009, 08:06 AM
The last one is SO stylish!

02 February 2009, 11:08 AM
I had 3 works to manage so I had no more time neither for personal art. I decided that it was "no life" so I cut one of them :p
Hope to see new updates and chat too

02 February 2009, 11:10 AM
Oh Serena!

It's been ages, woman!

Yea, I was thinking about the differences between concept art and illustration and wanted to try and push the concept side of things.

It's just a very rough beginning, though.

Hope to chat to you some time again... cya

02 February 2009, 03:23 PM
pushed the values on the figure.
More refining is needed where the forms overlap and interact (arms/elbows/face/hands)

02 February 2009, 05:36 PM
Hey Mu
nice entry again!
Don't overuse the just add water blender mate ;)
Be brave! Let's see some brush strokes...

Here expression is so funny and scaringly real at the same time!

02 February 2009, 07:37 PM
Hi Johan,

I did indeed soften every stroke on my way...:D

I figured I'd save the visible strokes for the last touches. Hope this is a bit better?

02 February 2009, 08:46 PM
Yep, better (although it never hurts to keep pushing :) )

Her left elbow is bothering me.
Check out this stock image at DA ( to see how the musclesare placed.

Looked it up for you:
The muscles are brachioradialis (pulls the forearm) and the extensor carpi radialis longus (pulls the wrist)

02 February 2009, 09:02 PM
Hey there,

thanks for the effort, I'll check it out and refine!

03 March 2009, 11:22 AM
smoothed the forms on the arm, lightened her skin up, added colour...:

03 March 2009, 12:35 PM
people get confused by the background. I replaced it with a background which makes it clearer that I wanted to go for a concept piece...:

03 March 2009, 10:31 PM

I started practising drawing for comics (because I want to learn how to draw them) and bought this to get into the type of comics I like best ( It's interesting, because the author talks a lot about contour lines and then shading/carving to bring out the shapes.

His only two values, though, are black and white.

God, I love black and white thinking...:D

03 March 2009, 12:32 AM
I've enjoyed your bunny progress - really shows how much you've learned since you've started the sketchbook and that's always motivating to see! Great job :)

03 March 2009, 12:09 AM
thank you very much Magdalena - it's always nice and motivating to get a pat on the shoulder, but from someone I admire it's like icing on the motivation cake...:)

03 March 2009, 02:41 PM

today I practised portraits from photo ref in the noir style I am studying with Shawn Martinbrough's book.

I use india ink (black and white) and edding markers (which are not as opaque as I hoped).
Posterized it after the scan so it does show only two values (instead of all the shades and stains from the curved paper a.s.o. - i.e. otherwise it looks very much like the paper version)

03 March 2009, 03:50 PM
Pretty nice Mu!
Looks quite hard to do

03 March 2009, 07:36 PM
I don't know. It's not hard to do, but quite hard to see the world and subjects like this. So radical either/or 1/0 digitally, you know? That's why I love the book by Martinbrough, it changes the way you look at things.

03 March 2009, 09:18 PM
another one from photo ref ( The head is a bit off, ack! Also, the pose is a bit more tilted in the ref.
It's just great when you spot these things just when you think you're finished.


03 March 2009, 05:56 AM
These last few b&w drawings are pretty inspiring I must say.
Thought of it at school yesterday and did a quick, small b&w exercise in charcoal to see what it is all about. And I must admit it's quite fun! Might do some more tonight :)
Will post that charcoal thingie (don't expect too much lol) on wednesday
Thanks for the inspiration Mu!

Last one is indeed a bit off compared to the ref, but I think you managed to transfer an equal amount of drama, which is the point I guess.

Keep 'em comin' sailor!

03 March 2009, 08:23 PM
Hey Johan,

it's fun indeed and the mood is really important - but I'd still like to get my faces right...:D

another one from ref ( I will do at least 3 or 4 more and then move on to other exercises from the book.

click for higher res: (

03 March 2009, 02:28 AM
Wow, that b&w effect makes the drawings feel quite dramatic. You've made a lot of progress with this technique in the last few drawings. I really like how you dealt with the smoke and facial hair in that last one.

03 March 2009, 05:13 AM
Love the last one... for a moment, I saw a woman dancing in that smoke :)
Eagerly following your progress Mu

03 March 2009, 10:24 AM
Love the black & white Mu!

Keep doing them! I think it's a really great way to focus on the
essence in form + lights & darks, and sooo deliciously effective :drool:
Do you do any pencil sketching before you attack the paper with the marker pens?
(& forgive me if I'm straying off aim of project as I haven't read the book you mentioned)
Was just thinking that a few light ovals & guidelines may help in the initial stage of
finding the form?

Hope you're keeping well & happy :wavey:

a. :)

03 March 2009, 01:52 PM
really like the last one :)

03 March 2009, 04:57 PM
collings - thank you. Me too...:)

Annette - yes, I do pencil sketches. The workflow according to Shawn Martinbrough might as well begin with a quick brush study, but in general you do a pencil drawing and then ink over the drawing (interpreting the drawing along the way). Then the drawing is erased.
Keep in mind that in the comic industry there's generally the penciller and the inker as two separate jobs. As I am trying to do my own thing here, I will have to do both parts in my comic project (later, later, argh! My schedule has grown a bit since the book arrived, lol)

Johan, thanks for the visit, as always really appreciated. I like the smoke for its random appearance. I did that with a dry brush (excess ink wiped off at the ink well).

Aviva - thank you very much!

03 March 2009, 06:52 PM
Because Annette asked and as it clarfies the process:

Here's the pencil sketch for the next one.

The head tilt is a bit off on this one, too, compared to the ref, but I think I will go with this drawing as the main focus of the study is on decision making (If I got this right)

03 March 2009, 09:05 PM
Really like the feel of your 'noir et blanc' work! Keep going, it's proving very effective....

03 March 2009, 11:17 PM
thanks clippy.


Epic failure.

So many things went wrong with this, the tilt and facial planes are off (some point at the viewer, some not) and also I found out that I need to be more careful with inking the pencil edges with a pen, because if I use a dry brush I can soften edged up if they are not inked with a pen yet.


But I learned a lot...


from ref (

03 March 2009, 08:37 AM
Hey Mu :)

I wouldn't call it an epic failure at all! :) The distortions actually give it more
movement and in some ways more excitement than the ref photo. :wavey: It was interesting
to see the pencil stage followed by the inked version.

a. :)

03 March 2009, 10:35 AM
I agree, this one is my favourite so far! It has a fantastic caricature-ish feel to it as well, plz continue!

I'm giving you stars as well, enjoy, you deserve them! :D

03 March 2009, 02:38 PM
Annette and Clippy! Thanks so much for cheering me up.

I messed the resemblence ( up on this one, but that is a drawing problem and not rooted in the style study.

03 March 2009, 03:33 PM
HEY MR MU...:wavey:

I really like the direction your heading in...Strong images and technique, and also a great way to express emotion. :thumbsup: :)
Looking forward to seeing where this path leads you to.:)

03 March 2009, 05:12 PM
thanks a lot for your visit, Glenn!

03 March 2009, 05:34 PM
I can only add to the superlatives here Mu.
It's not that much about likeness as it is about mood, expression and emotion.
Your inkings have all of that.


03 March 2009, 07:40 PM
Thank you, Johan. I must say that I am quite excited about the whole thing, because it resonates with a whole set of preferences of mine from a totally different field of arts: music.

To put it in a nutshell: This style is like a good blues song - rough, simple, dramatic and sinister. I love it.

This one is up next:

03 March 2009, 09:56 PM
tryin to minimize detail while still depicting everything needed for a complete impression. Not that I succeeded...:D But that's where I want to go.

contrasting line weights (thick and thin) and shapes with hard edges and a bit softer ones. Added a bit of texture to the shirt.

I need different paper, the ink runs too much and destroys sharp lines. Also, the new ink I got is not as opaque as the old one. Damn.

I'm tired.

Signing out...:)

from ref: (

03 March 2009, 12:00 AM
Hey there Mu :)

I like the association to music - fits well :)
These inkings are getting better and better :) They're striking and
draw you in :) One small suggestion... the way the girl (above) has a shadow on both
arms and then a line to show the outer edge of the arm. If you were to make that line
more varied in thickness - from very thin & perhaps even broken in the parts where
light may reflect, to thicker & maybe even meeting the shaded area. Not sure if I'm making
sense here - but to me it would look less like an outline and more like an illustration
of form - allowing the eye to 'move beyond the line' :D
Looking good though, so disregard what doesn't make sense ;)

a. :)

03 March 2009, 05:25 AM
Hey Mu, have you tried this in Painter?
Some great inking brushes in there...
I had done some lineart on A4 copy paper yesterday with a Pitt Artist Pen earlier on the day yesterday and then took it in Painter to improve the linework... works like a charm (I used a brush from the caligraphy category)... just a suggestion.

Looking great! Keep going pls :bounce:

03 March 2009, 05:28 PM
Hey Johan,

I did try Painter's liquid ink section, but I feel that I can only use them appropriately after learning it the traditional way. I don't know why, but I get closer to the craft as such when doing it with a traditional tool. Or my brain works better, then, I got no idea, why.
What bugs me in Painter is that you can't just paint in white over liquid ink with a liquid ink variant, IIRC. That's a bit easier IRL.


your suggestion makes perfect sense to me! Thanks a lot.
I think I will try it on the scan and take this one into Painter (following Johan's suggestion, too...:D ) and will try to apply it there.

03 March 2009, 05:47 PM
Like this...?

I tried to break the outline for an impression of hard lighting, used more variance in line weight and added a few more details (hair, underwear)

03 March 2009, 09:51 PM
I realized my new ink is actually sepia, very dark sepia... damn.

I gotta go and get me a bottle of the hard full opaque black one, because on the original I got all kinds of shades going on in the black areas from the pen, the brush and the markers...

The nose drove me mad, btw...

Another thing to note: I am trying to get smaller and smaller in these studies as my full comic page will have to fit on the page with several panel... :eek:

03 March 2009, 10:44 PM

Looking forward to seeing the page layouts for your comic.:)
You might get ahold of a plastic template..the kind with the curves, and straight edges in it..will come in handy when you make your borders around each frame...You can make them fancy in some cases, and plain in others, depending on the importance of the frame on the page.
A quill pen set with different tips that fit into the handle is also very handy when doing ink work,..and a good small sable hair brush that comes to a fine point, for your line work..really makes a difference in the quality of your line....Just a couple of passing thoughts that might be useful to you..:)
Your technique, and pieces are getting stronger with each one you do, as you start to get used to this inking techniqe that you've chosen...Good choice by the way..:thumbsup:

03 March 2009, 02:43 AM
Hi Mu :)

The changes you made to the line are definitely giving her more movement,
allowing the eye to wander freely without being trapped in a line :)
That last ink-painting rocks! :thumbsup: Keep enticing us & look forward to
seeing the panels together. I've been wanting to do more black & white
cartoon (comic - & colour too) drawings, you're definitely inspiring me :)

a. :)

03 March 2009, 06:22 PM
Hi Glenn,

all of the things you mentioned were on the shopping list of the book I bought about drawing noir comics. I love shopping lists...:D I went and got everything within the same week, of course!
Thanks for popping in!

that is cool to hear that you are drawn to inking, too!
Before I actually compose whole pages I need to go through a set of preparatory exercises, the first being dialogue shots, which will come soon.


03 March 2009, 10:29 PM
I realized that dialogue shots are not the next exercise in the book.

Silhouettes are!

I am afraid...:D

more portraits

03 March 2009, 10:44 PM
according to "How to draw noir comics" another important exercise is to do silhouettes. Detail is only allowed in the background.

As a first step I did a few very quick outlines from life from today's visit at the zoo with pencil. I couldn't ink the outlines in the sketchbook (The black shows on the next page... I tried to blacken a few with charcoal but that gave ugly spots), so you have to do with the bare outlines only.

I must say it was exciting! I haven't been that fast at fixing the basic structure of a gesture before. I always tried to draw the full head or the arm before the torso and so on, but with this you only care about the basic shape (horizon) - a bit like Tony Ryder on speed...:D

03 March 2009, 10:45 PM
cont. damn the image limit...:rolleyes:

03 March 2009, 10:25 PM
more silhouettes. The exercise says, draw silhouettes, draw no detail, concentrate on the shape, the only place detail is allowed is in the background.

I must say, thinking about silhouettes totally launches my storytelling muscle.

These are from imagination. Ref was used for the view of the trunk of the car.

03 March 2009, 06:48 AM
Good work on the sillhouettes. I can see the noir feel on the last two sketches..

03 March 2009, 06:09 PM
thanks vikramvr!

more silhouette characters in environment. I realize I feel uncomfortable doing environments (not that the anatomy of my characters wouldn't make me feel uncomfortable, too...).
So, I'll do a few environments next. And portraits. And silhouettes.

03 March 2009, 06:20 PM
Hey Mu
great updates!

If you do this already, please ignore the following:
work from the shoulder or at least from the elbow, rather than the wrist.
With some practice the control and fluidity will be a lot bigger this way.
Search for schwung :)

03 March 2009, 06:41 PM
LOL, schwung alright!

That's a good reminder. I am going smaller and smaller with these drawings and I might have become to limited in my movements on the way.

thanks for your visits and advice, man!


03 March 2009, 07:44 PM
Hi Mu, you have some great results with this black and white style! The environments are quite a challenge i suppose.

04 April 2009, 03:10 PM
environment practise - line drawings, scanned, copied and inked:

04 April 2009, 07:36 PM
in between a bit of lifedrawing on the train...:

04 April 2009, 09:41 AM
Hey Mu

great update! Nice to see that you take every opportunity to sketch.
I hope that lady from the last image didn't mind you looking at her legs though hehe.
I can see you running through the wagon with a fat lady behind ya, swinging her purse at you :D

04 April 2009, 08:22 PM
you wish...:D

but I must say that the legs were actually really beautiful ones (not fat or clumsy). The legs belong to the sleeping girl of the 4th image bottom right corner.
The lady was fast asleep, so I figured she wouldn't be annoyed at my trying to sketch them.

I must add that while I did draw a rather fat woman (big is the word isn't it? There was quite a bit of fat on her, however) I was struck that day by the fact how beautiful every single person was on that train.
It's hard to describe, but I felt a kind of unity that day with everyone around me and I think that drawing helped to echo this state of mind tremendously (or it helped build it, I don't remember....)

thanks for popping in, btw. Where is everyone? I sure hope we're not all as busy as I am...:D

04 April 2009, 05:11 AM
you wish...:D


Well yes, I meant a big woman.
I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings with my previous comment so if I did, I apologize.

And I totally agree with you Mu, big people aren't uglier than slim people.
There are beautiful things to be found in everyone's appearance.

It's true that things are quite calm here at the boards, but better busy than lazy, right?
I for one am really busy, with the communion of my oldest daughter (made the cards myself, my school assignment (presentation next wednesday, cross yer fingers!), and lots more...

How about you?
What have you been up to lately, other than sketching on the train?
How's the comic process evolving?

04 April 2009, 01:58 PM
Great work on the sillhouettes & lifedrawing Mu! The few times I've tried drawing people on public transport/in public, I always freak myself out thinking people will notice I'm looking at them and get annoyed at me, even if they're facing the other way. Thank you for reminding me to take my sketchbook with me when I go to the aquarium this weekend - I don't think cuttlefish will get annoyed at me if I draw them ;)

05 May 2009, 07:16 PM
Mu! This is a fantastic coincidence me taking a peek in here for the first time in months, and you just having posted all this amazing b&w stuff! Really! I'm using too many exclamation marks!:) (Ah! Inner writers, aren't they lovely)

Seriously dude, I've been toying with two things lately - in between working -: getting a b&w tattoo and setting up a sketchbook thread here. You've just convinced me to do both:).

(PS. Very curious to know how you are. Watching Barca-Chelsea tonight?)
(PPS. Er, hope you remember me:))

05 May 2009, 07:43 PM
Hey Mu! How are you doing? Love the train-drawings!:thumbsup: .. used to do that a long time ago when I was at college.. I should do that again sometime! .. used to be fun! So true, that thing about everyone being beautiful.. you realize it more, the more you draw people!

05 May 2009, 05:15 AM
The silhouette drawings are just beautiful!!!

05 May 2009, 01:56 PM
Oh folks,

I am quite overwhelmed with your replies. I was caught up in heavy workload and only now found the time to check back in my thread. Also, not all of your replies triggered a notification e-mail (dunno why, sorry).

sorry for the late reply! James Gurney says that you can always turn right or left 90 to check what you can draw there! So, if the fish are boring draw the animals outside the aquarium! :D

are you kidding? Of course I remember! It would be so cool to hear about/from you more regularly in a thread of your own!
I am fine. Art-wise/Writing: I found a way to express myself in a very unique way: I combine reading and music and telling stories in my shows. It creates a powerful mood and sends people from laughing to crying. If only I could put more time into it!

thanks for your visit. Yes, I think when I draw people I don't want them to be any way or look any other than they actually are. No expectations. So, it's so much easier to accept them and appreciate their presence.

thanks very much, man! :beer:

05 May 2009, 09:52 AM
'Shows'?...tell me more! And what happened to the novel? No doubt you've found new and exciting ways to channel your creativity:).

BTW thanks so much for the link in Johans thread to Shawn Martinbrough. His style makes me think it will not be TOTALLY impossible to do a noir portrait...might try my hand at that shortly...

05 May 2009, 07:38 PM
Hi there,

Rinske, I'll tell you in an email, it's both lengthy and off-topic...LOL

Next Exercise in Shawn Martinbrough's book is called "two-shot".

The task is to show two people in dialogue while minding the following things:

- one in the foreground, one in the middleground
- consistent lighting
- background with texture

these are from imagination without ref. As Martinbrough puts a lot of emphasis on reference (as does every good drawing teacher, I guess - hello Rebecca :D ), I will go and take a few of these from imagination level to more refined level by supporting character creation from ref.

Here's the first level:

05 May 2009, 09:09 PM
Hey Mu,

great scenes! They all have good dramatic value. I like the first one best because there's a cool brooding energy and a certain sensitivity to the character in the front (this could be 'our hero':)). The second one is very recognizable but leans towards the cliche. The third one is the start of a movie 'back when all was good'. Like the woman is going to have an accident or something...

Hmm, you got my imagination working for one thing!:thumbsup:

PS. I'll PM you my adress.

05 May 2009, 06:38 PM
a bit of life drawing

this wasn't fun at all. Ack.

05 May 2009, 04:25 PM
Don't despair, Mu, the lines in the second and third one look cool and relaxed! Or do you mean it was no fun because you were sitting on a nail? In that case I can offer but little comfort...:)

Answer the Mu-tales asap!

05 May 2009, 04:38 PM
I was talking to a classmate last night at the academy, about the differences between now and last year. I still see things that are off when I'm drawing... wrong angle here, too long distance there, etc... so I often have to not think about the result too much right after a drawing session. However, when I pick up the drawings the next day, or even later, I often catch myself "well it didn't turn out that bad after all".

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that if you get frustrated because you still see things that are off while drawing, don't be. It's just you seeing better than last year, which actually means you are making progress.

And man, you have!
Everyone can see that in this thread.
So just keep going... please :)

06 June 2009, 08:53 AM
Hi, Maxi-mu! (how's mini-mu? still sweetness and light and adorability?)

I really like the studies-I can tell you've improved tons since the beginning of the thread, your work has a much more relaxed and accurate feel to it- very important to stop everyone from looking as if they have severe constipation. :D I want to see some colour though...please? Just a schmidgen? :wavey:

06 June 2009, 11:33 AM
oops, sorry for the late replies folks!

I still don't seem to get a notification each time someone posts in here.

Maladie - thanks for the encouragement. The second and the third do look better than the first. Doing them I felt inadequate, though. It just happens. I continue nevertheless, regardless of wether it's fun, because drawing starts to give back more than just fun to me. So, I don't know if I am making sense here, but I am not looking for fun alone anymore. You know?

Johan - thank you for your relentless encouragment, man! Also, I get bitchslapped with dedication each time I venture into your thread, man...:scream:

I have this vision right now where I want to combine my stark John Lee Hooker Blues noir drawings with a elaborate watercolor background/enviro.
I had a few experiences with watercolor before

(remember this one? A mastercopy with only primary colours and mixes of them)

With the b/w drawings I started to miss colour, too.
With oil colour I felt most comfortable when not using any mediums or thinners. Pastels are too limited, imo.
Whenever I come across a good watercolor, though, I feel really excited. So I decided to revisit that medium.

I purchased Nita Engle's book "How to make a watercolor paint itself" (
because there's such a cool realism in her paintings without sacrificing the impact and splendour of watercolor.

A few examples:

Her method basically is a combination of delicate planning and preparation (drawing/masking) followed by "twenty minutes of nerve-racking chaos" in which she lets the watercolor have its sway.

It's really exciting.

I did a few of the exercises in the book, but I ruined a painting I wanted to post in here by applying packing tape to the paper surface to shield parts of the painting from running colour. When I wanted to take it off, I ripped half of my scene away!
So, I might scan it in and try to repair it in Painter.

And, erm, yes. More colour. And also more blackness.


06 June 2009, 11:59 AM
That sounds like an intriguing experiment- I'm looking forward to seeing how that goes! I too want to get back to watercolour. (I bought some a while ago, did a few paintings but then got sidetracked by this little thing called 'exams') I think your plan is great, looking forward to seeing this!

06 June 2009, 02:47 PM
GOOD MORNING MR MU...and a BIG CONGRATS on the NEW arival.:bounce: :thumbsup: ..Mio...good name...:thumbsup:

I was just thinking that a good happy medium between full color and black and white is monochromatic, and that you might really enjoy using those watercolors in the fashion of the old CHINESEE MASTERS.
Golds, greens...yellows, violets, ..and the full range of color values that can be created using that limited palette.
Get a few books on anciet CHINESE art from the library, and you will see what i'm talking about...BEAUTIFUL STUFF..and it will fit right right into what you are doing at the moment I think..:)

06 June 2009, 02:15 PM
Oh Glenn, I am basically thinking the same thing. I admire Goseki Koshima's work whose ink and wash landscapes go very much in the direction you point, I guess.

hard to find examples on the web, but here's a few:

The watercolor experiment I mentioned above (the one I ruined) was based on a Lone Wolf and Cub scene with added environment by me to try a few Nita Engle techniques.

I repaired the ripped paper surface parts in Gimp and added twigs and black shapes on the figures in Painter.

06 June 2009, 02:28 PM
Ich liebe das! Sehr nett und frisch- mehr, bitte! :D I could see it as a CD cover. Keep experimenting, I'm enjoying seeing your results...

06 June 2009, 03:02 PM
Hi Mu, the watercolour experiment looks great. The textured colour creates an interesting contrast with the black figures. I picked up this book ( secondhand a while ago, which seems to use the same watercolour technique you've described. I was thinking of trying it out myself but so far have only bought some masking fluid to use. Nita Engle's paintings look incredible.

06 June 2009, 01:49 AM
It's too bad about the ripped watercolor, looks like it was coming along nicely. :)

06 June 2009, 06:50 PM
Hi clippy,

more to follow. :D


that looks like a nice book! I like the "six laws" chapter.


yea, the moment I ruined it was especially shocking, but what the hell. I'll keep going and eventually post more watercolours in here.

Inspired by Nita Engles texturing techniques as well as by her playful approach in general I decided to apply this to ink.
I wanted to just play with the ink and see what kinds of textures I could make the ink form.
I tried
- splattering ink from the brush
- dipping the brush repeatedly on the paper
- dragging the brush with hard pressure on the paper, twisting it rhythmically

and so on, both wet and dry.

I was so amazed at how many many different textures you can produce with black ink and one brush! **** alchemy! :D

Where the patterns inspired me to draw something with the textures as a starting point I did. Maybe I can learn to control the variuos texture techniques so much that I can start with a drawing and add the chaos afterwards!

We shall see.

click for hi-res (

click for hi res (

click for hi res (

click for hi res (

06 June 2009, 07:22 PM
Wow I'm always so impressed by your creative ways of trying out new stuff.
Pretty nice to see this analog version of "Alchemy" happening :)

And I should do this properly:
Congratulations to you and the Mrs with the birth of your son Mio!
Wishing you and yours the very best. :)

06 June 2009, 04:53 PM
thanks a lot Johan! We're all fine and the little one is as cute as a... newborn...:)

I tried to put to use some of the texture techniques as well as the blowing technique by Lian Quan Zhen (for the tree in the foreground. You can see it in action on youtube, I posted the link in Aviva's thread).

I am basically still looking for a way to really place figures into a working environment. Figures, environment, figures, environment, until one day I can tell a character driven story with believable backgrounds.
I am not sure wether I should rely on ink for the backgrounds, too, add watercolor into the media mix or whatever.

black and white ink, from ref.

06 June 2009, 08:59 PM
bit of structural work for a change. Slowly digging my way through a copy of Hogarth's book about heads.

click for hi-res (

06 June 2009, 09:41 PM
Wow, Mu, really impressed with that last b/w drawing and the jaw! Great stuff, keep going. :)

06 June 2009, 09:48 PM
I don't know who you are, but get off Rebecca's account! I'll let her know there's something wrong!

Or is that really you Rebecca? I am somehow missing the hidden whipping, the subtle kicks in the butt...:D

They say we grow soft when we get older...hihi...

thank you.


06 June 2009, 09:49 PM
Lol, I am growing soft in many ways Mu ;) but mainly, I think you're doing a good job, I'm allowed to say so, no? :)

06 June 2009, 09:55 PM
Oh, you are.
But with drawing/painting my first reaction on being complimented for stuff is disbelief.


Actually, growing softer is a good thing, btw. That's the main objective in my taichi training, too.

In that post you were basically all ying... :scream:

Nice to know you are still watching this. If you someday find me eagerly digging a hole into the wrong part of the beach here, please feel free to mark my treasure map with a new fat red X anytime!


06 June 2009, 11:40 PM
Looks interesting. Maybe I would be careful with putting strokes on faces, as they are easily can be percepted as injury or like that. Otherwise I like your graphical approach.

06 June 2009, 11:06 AM
Hey mister3d

thanks for the comment. I guess you're right. In this case I started with the ambiguous strokes and the faces came afterwards and as the chaotic process does not make for consistent lighting the shades turn into injuries or just spots.

Maybe I can harness the chaos in my next attempts.

07 July 2009, 03:44 PM
Hi there Mu :)

Glad to pop back to your exciting corner on this forum :wavey:
Been looking through your last pages of silhouette inkings and life drawings, it's great to see the experimentation and variation you show :)

And.... congratulations on your new arrival :) How exciting :beer:

cheers and take care
a. :)

09 September 2009, 06:26 PM
Hello everybody!

still there and also here and there taking a peek at your threads.

Stressful time again and again, preparing my going full time solo artist and all - I'm terrified and delighted by that decision, so I'll occasionally pop in here to release a bit of stress...:D

I got oil brushes as a birthday present and figured I should give oil another try (which was the way the present was meant).

From a ref which does not resemble this painting at all anymore. Also the left eye. Argh. Moreover, I wanted to do a verdacchio and try glazing, but even though I thinned that stuff down like hell it would still just sit on top! So, I left it at the few strokes on the cheek and nose. Don't know what went wrong there. Any ideas anyone? Maybe it was my mixing the alizarin crimson with titanium white (=op.)?

But how am I going to make use of a lighter red for glazes if I can't mix with white?


(the rainbow streaks are from the foil I used to protect my scanner....:D )

09 September 2009, 06:38 AM
Wow... fulltime artist! Sounds like a dream to me :D
Anyway, great to hear you are taking the plonge Mu!

I am missing a bit of the far cheeckbone on the portrait. that being said, the flesh underneath it, looks a bit too thick, so chop that piece off and paste it on the cheekbone ;)
I like the look in the eyes though... kinda dreamy and mysterious...

Great to hear from you Mu :D
All the best!

09 September 2009, 05:15 PM
Hi Johan,

yeah, you're right about the issues. It was a child's portrait! Just to show you how far I have landed off the mark...:D

About my artist's leap: It's also a nightmare, anxiety-wise...:scream:


09 September 2009, 01:12 AM
Hey Mu, Congrats for new baby! Took the plunge into living the solo artist life. Will be watching your development.
As for the painting, just let it dry before mixing & applying layers. If you wanted an underlayer area to shine transparently thru top layer, ya may just have to paint underlayer with a white mix, let dry and then paint your glaze. That's what I love about oils, they are quite forgiving and workable to quite a depth.

The best to you in your endeavor!

09 September 2009, 07:53 PM
Hello Esmeralda!

For this I wanted to try and follow Mark Behms workflow he showed here, for example (
I wanted to give oils a try in order to be able to go from dark to light mostly without glazes, but I'll check any technique out and see what happens.

Another one before I go back to pen and ink sometime soon.

Loosely based on a Rembrandt ref, still mostly checking out the handling of oil colours. Used titanium white, ivory black, alizarin crimson and burnt umber for this.

09 September 2009, 09:14 PM
Hey Mu, nice to see some oils around.

well i hope i can help with the oil painting, as i have been painting for the last months and been improving and as im learning portrait painting right now i hope this will be usefull.

As i paint, i was taught to start with the darker colors and build from there to the lighter ones. Like you are doing it, but the difference i see, is that you are pretty much laying the dark color as a base color and having some difficulties to come with midtones and lights. Give it a try to block out areas with the dark (where is dark) midtone (where midtone) and lights (where is brighter) and after all is done come back to the lights and add the highlights.

One thing to remember is always to brush really soft so you won't mix the paint on the brush with the paint already on the canvas, in that way you can lay a new layer of paint over wet paint.

You don't need glazes (im not sure if glazes are what i think they are, since i'm thinking of velatura from the itallian) you're not supposed to be doing them to bring lights up as far as i know. You should only use transparent or semi-transparent paints to do it, and over dark areas. This would give you a wash over the colors and bring them closer together. Titanium white is not a transparent color, but alizarin crimson is.

And the last thing, you could try painting with a reduced pallet for portrait painting. That would go ivory black, titanium white, cadmium red light and yellow ocher. You could add some burnt sienna also to help out. With that you could paint pretty much any Caucasian flesh tone.

Well hope any of this is going to be useful for you, it has certainly helped me a lot when i was told those things.

cheers keep it up :)


09 September 2009, 09:16 PM

Thanks a lot for this detailed write up! This will definitely help as I needed a bit more planning. All of your points make total sense to me!

09 September 2009, 09:29 PM
Glad that was of help to you :)

feel free to ask for any more info and i'll help out as best i can. Keep it up, painting so much fun. I have gotten into it only a while ago, and i regret not taking painting before.

10 October 2009, 02:30 AM
as the people said, great studies man.
Keep rocking!

10 October 2009, 04:47 AM
Can't help you with oils yet Mu, but it seems you're doing pretty good with the medium. :D

Watch the eyes buddy... they need to be on the same 'line' ;)
(It's a mistake I often make as well, which is probably why I notice now :argh:

10 October 2009, 09:45 AM
so many good news since my last visit,
and - full time solo artist, good for you!
cant wait for more of your work (and - hopefully some watercolor too :)
looking forward to)

10 October 2009, 07:14 PM
- longhi thanks a lot for the cheering! :)

- Johan, there's quite a few things off with that portrait. I am also really understanding more and more about what maozao said about the light values. *sigh

- alenah
definitely watercolors! I got a sales supply coupon for birthday and got some W&N watercolors (many times as expensive as the ones I use now, lol).

About full time artist: just to clarify (in case it wasn't painfully obvious from the stuff in this thread, hihi) - this is about my storytelling and music-making only.
Better to stick to things one is capable of...:D

thanks everyone!


10 October 2009, 08:34 PM
Hi there,

not to lose sight of my goal (do comics) I had an idea.

But first, I realized that in order to be able to draw comics all of the aspects of representational painting are involved: figure, environment, shapes, composition, even abstracts.
So, I need to make an efficient schedule which explores all of the above. More on that later.

For now, I love first pages. Of comics, to be sure, but with books I also do the Test of the First Page, meaning, I read it and look where it takes me. Depending on that I buy books or put them back on the shelf.

That's why I decided I'd do a few attempts at a "first page" of classical stories or books I love. Maybe later on, when the faves get a bit more obscure I will try and let you guess the story.

I'll start off with a no-brainer, though.

This is a pencil thumbnail page of what I would want a Robinson Crusoe first page to look like:

I am not sure yet if I will fine pencil and ink all of these experiments.
As always, let me know what you think!


10 October 2009, 06:02 AM
Hey Mu,

great to see you are setting up some structured precess to achieve your goal.

About these first pages: I think you should work out a bunch of first pages to a professional standard.
Why? Because every page you do will have to meet this quality standard (technically spoken) anyway, and your first page is -as you mention yourself- quite important.
Perhaps do a lot quickly sketches of first pages, and pick the best 5 or 6 or so to start with?
Just my 2cents ;)

10 October 2009, 11:19 AM
Hi Johan,

as this pencilpage is rather elaborate (for my standards, at least...:D ) - do you mean to work up to 5-6 pencil-1st-pages "per story classic" with a much rougher look to decide which one to flesh out further?

I don't know how much of a visual appeal I can build up at all with a rougher look, because it takes so much knowledge and skill to sum a scene up with just a few strokes, you know...?
Which means, I hope the scenes can be "read" at all if I keep them any simpler...:eek:

10 October 2009, 03:03 PM
Yeah, it reads nice like this.
I think if the basic pencil sketch is of decent quality, it will make your life easier when inking.
Dan Dos Santos says this in his oil painting dvd that the quality of the underdrawing is extremely important. The better the underdrawing, the better the final product, and the faster you can achieve top quality. I only assume this also counts for inkings... (I'm far from an expert)

I recently saw a flyer of the comic museum in Brussels (where they have the largest comic library of the world, over 90.000 titles) and it says they show the complete process from sketch to comic. Haven't been there yet, but I plan to. There's loads of interesting things to learn there (eg, did you know there are over 800 professional comic artists in Belgium? And there's only 10.5 Million Belgians?!)

What I'm trying to say, maybe there is something similar to find in Germany?

10 October 2009, 07:56 PM
Hmm, I don't know. The Belgians are definitely pretty comic crazy. Same goes for germany. I was thinking the other day that I know of no other country and no other comic author who ever had 250.000 fans attend an event to re-enact a single episode of a comic which was pretty popular back then (the event was a race between a custom built bike and a vintage Porsche - the loser was to be covered in cat shit, IIRC...:D ).

Anyway, I bought a few instructional books on comics by Will Eisner and Shawn Martinbrough (through which I hit on my nerve for heavily inked drawings at all) and they all do stress the importance of a properly pencilled page - the first step in the iteration being a rough thumbnail of what is to be transformed into a pencil page later on which serves as a template for the inks.

So, plan as follows:

drawing practise:

- characters isolated
- environments
- both of which combined
- drawing from life
- drawing from ref
- drawing character thumbnails without ref

direct/immediate comic practise:

- rough ink character design sketches
- ink drawing from ref
- ink drawing from life

Page design (including two shots, silhouettes and the other exercises from Shawn's book):
- thumbnails (very rough)
- pencilled page
- inking
- lettering


- value studies from ref
- oil/watercolor colour studies from life or ref


More later on. For now I will copy this list to evernote.

thanks Johan!
*researches comic museum, germany

10 October 2009, 06:32 AM
Sounds like a solid planning... now the challenge: stick to it.

LOL we all grow as artists kicking eachother's butt... visualizing this is quite funny to be honest :D

Have fun!

10 October 2009, 07:22 AM
ROFL! That is one funny image in my head which I won't get rid of...:scream:

Expect some solid re-scheduling by the time reality joins us in the butt-kicking...:D

10 October 2009, 08:32 PM
One thing I need to mention, btw. When I say I want to do comics this has nothing to do with a business or industry goal. I just want to do them.
So, meeting industrial standards is naturally a long distance to go and I don't mind.

I am busy trying to get a grip on the storytelling principles and the visual quality, e.g., and can't thus develop anything near the speed of professional comic writers/artists.

But, of course, I should do my best.

Another first one for Crusoe... Not sure if it's better from a storytelling point of view.

Drawings are rough, of course. Maybe still much too detailed - it took me much too long anyways.

Here goes... (horizontal line is from stitching two scans together):

Curious how many angles my storytelling for the First Page can take if I try another 2 to 3 first pages.

12 December 2009, 01:58 PM

How time flies when you're enjoying yourself...^^

my going full-time artist kinda crashed my drawing plan. In case you don't know: I am doing a solo programme (story-telling/musician) and working as an author.

Here's a video of a recent gig. (

I guess most of you don't speak german, so I'll not give you links to story-telling parts of my gigs.


Just these last days I found a bit of time to get back to drawing again. Whenever I feel too much out of "training" I rely mostly on pencil and paper. It never disappoints me - a bit like an old friend whose door is always open.

landscape thumbnail, photo ref, pencil + markers

landscape thumbnail, photo ref, pencil + markers

a dog, photo ref, pencil and markers

a self portrait from mirror which turned out very unlike me...:D I went ahead and added a few blocks of black with marker because I still plan to go for ink drawings + watercolor washes some time soon (*knocks on wood)

12 December 2009, 02:02 PM
and a few portraits which took about 90-120 minutes each. Photo refs are from a book on germany during the 1920s.
Pencil and white pastel to heighten parts of the drawing (like I read about in Tony Ryder's book...)

pencil and white pastel

pencil and white pastel+a little bit of charcoal to add deeper darks

12 December 2009, 11:56 PM
Hey there Mr.Mu, you've got quite a lot of nice pieces going on. You are making a good job on the comics, we know what's happening however my only crit is that you should work on making the environments on your comics more detailed, but in a way we readers can comprehend what's going on even more.

(although I believe you are already working on environments ;))

Looking forward to more :thumbsup:

01 January 2010, 10:12 PM
Sorry, massive drive-by-dump ahead. While I do draw now and then, I do not find as much time for browsing the forums as often as I used to. On the other hand, my artist career is feeling fine, so there's correlations, you know...:D

I did a few simple environments where I tried to get a grip on foreground middle ground and background:

As we own a hard disc video recorder I realized I can pause any movie and do a quick sketch! Some of them I inked afterwards:

To be continued...

01 January 2010, 10:14 PM
more movie still sketches.. most of them about ten to twenty minutes:

01 January 2010, 10:18 PM
This, if I am not mistaken, is a Brian Froud mastercopy. The artist is not mentioned, but it looks like a Froud and he contributed drawings to the book I got it from.

I was amazed at the details he put into the hair and especially the many many curves he put on everything. It made the whole figure so believable and detailed!
So, I tried to take these things I noticed about the original (many small opposing curves, detail, elaborate hair) and apply those to a creature I designed from scratch (with horns and hide to match some of the characteristics of the Froud creature). Here is what I came up with.

The usual structural issues due to lack of reference (hrm, hum), but I like the details...:D


01 January 2010, 05:32 AM
Hey Mu
I can see you've been busy :)

So now you design characters as well eh?
I guess anything is possible when imagination is the source.
Awesome update and it's great to hear your career as an artist is going well!

01 January 2010, 04:47 PM
Hey Mu! Wassup? Nice drawings. Enjoyed your music.. :)

02 February 2010, 07:32 AM
:wavey: HEY MR MU.....:)

I really like thoe drawings you did of people in Germany during the 1920's...Great technique used with Great results...Amazing how something in a subject that moves you emotionaly, can capture that particular and deep emotion that is in you regarding the subject, and then can extend and convey itself into your work...That is what drawing, music,poetry,writing and art is all about, and it looks like you have achieved what it is all about in those drawings, your music,poetry, and writing..So stay on the path you are's the right one for sure...:applause: :thumbsup: :arteest:

Glenn and Jessica

02 February 2010, 11:14 AM
Hey folks,

thanks for the feedback.

Johan - So now you design characters as well eh?
Ah man, that sounds as if I was actually good at it... But I do indeed have to practise it if I want to be able to come up with believable characters for a comic one day.

Anand - great you enjoyed the music! I'll throw in a few updates here and there... thanks for the feedback.

Glenn - it was great to talk to you again. And yes, that is basically what art is about. Convey some of the feelings you have. A bit like a combination of hypnosis and telepathy... :D

02 February 2010, 06:11 PM
Hey there Mr. Mu!

At first I was strolling through the last page of your thread and was thinking... why the traditional stuff here. Then I read on. I agree that getting the ol' pencil and paper out is like talking to an old friend. It is also like riding a bike. It is hard to get going again but after a while you remember how to do it.

I know how it is about the comic too. I so dearly want to get mine started but I have a hard time doing just that and then staying motavated enough to keep it going.

Keep up the thoughts though and keep posting. I find that motavating enough... especially when people post C&C's!


02 February 2010, 01:41 PM
Hi aggie,

thanks for your thoughts. Interesting to hear about your comic, man. Let's see a few concepts or something!

just colouring this guy:

02 February 2010, 02:42 PM
I like how you changes his look towards the viewer!

02 February 2010, 03:46 PM
Hi aggie,

thanks for your thoughts. Interesting to hear about your comic, man. Let's see a few concepts or something!

Okay, you inspired me to start a thread here that has only my graphic novel ( This may help keep me working towards a goal.

Thanks Mr. Mu!

02 February 2010, 01:45 AM
Hi much stuff to see..i really liked the last post.
I like the way you have made ur plan and good to see that you are actually working on it...
Good luck !

02 February 2010, 01:56 PM
Hey aggie - that's great news! After all, that's what these forums are here for. Publish your WIPs and get motivation and hints from other folks. The link does not work for me though... typo?

Shyam: I wish I could stick to the plan more properly, but alas! I had to give other stuff higher priority. I am going at a much slower pace by now than in the early days...

something not related to drawing:
I picked up this strange root in the garden yesterday which made clicking and hissing sounds. I got a bit scared and put it on the garden table to look it up in a botanical encyclopedia, but when I got back it was gone. Maybe the cat got it or something. So I drew it from memory. Does anyone know the species? I think it might be a Inspirationata Froudiensis, but who knows... :D

02 February 2010, 03:05 PM
And well drawn too!

02 February 2010, 11:03 PM
Now that is funny...

Rebekka combined my two threads together, so it is under Aggie93 Starting Anew. I think I fixed my link on my signature too! Here is the link to the thread (

02 February 2010, 10:27 AM
cool creatures design Mu! keep it up

02 February 2010, 07:33 PM
hehe, thanks Johan. I messed up on the nose alignment (or I should have shaved one eyebrow), but alas!

aggie - checking it out now!

Cisc0 thanks a lot!

colouring the little earthy guy:

02 February 2010, 09:08 PM
I just did an interesting thing: I flipped through every page of this thread (and repaired a few broken image links along the way).
I feel really grateful, now. Thanks to you all. I learned so much from from you and your passion and dedication.


I will do a few lizard studies, because I want to do an illustration of one of my favourite dragon scenes in fantasy literature.
I need a way to make it as detailed as possible (which is the main thing I learned from the Fround mastercopy: details into everything!) without overdoing it on the whole thing.

02 February 2010, 10:07 PM
I really like it. Cool textures on the skin. Good work for your illustration

02 February 2010, 06:17 AM
nice style..

02 February 2010, 05:08 PM
Cisc0 and dscavenger: thanks a lot for your feedback!

another one for preparation: (click for slightly higher res) (

I learned a lot about how to plan and execute scales on a given form without being intimidated by its complexity.
I'll do thumbnails next and I also decided to follow James Gurney's advice on how to paint things you actually don't have a reference for: do a maquette. Especially since I want to do the dragon in a night scene lit by its fire only I need to have a solid idea of what it looks like.

If I succeed with that illustration I will consider that a starting point for doing character concepts for a comic project I have in mind. I don't know why actually, but with the last three or four drawings I am much happier than with most of the stuff I did over the last year.

More soon.

02 February 2010, 03:16 AM
Oh Mr. Mu, I sure wish you would go ahead and start you comic. I need to see how you are going to get yours off the ground. Well, I posted my first two pages... in word form... on the Allu Blog ( Check it out!

02 February 2010, 06:57 AM
Great job on the lizard studies! Heh, I get intimidated by anything with a lot of intricate details.

How do you do a maquette? I did a google search, and looks like it's a small scale model in 3D.

02 February 2010, 08:39 PM
aggie - feel free to read my comic script transcription of a sci-fi short story of mine ( which got published in 2005. That is not the project I am talking about as the successor of the dragon project, but it might be interesting for someone fumbling with a story.

Heozart - here's a list of Gurney's posts on that topic ( Quite an eye-opener when you see how his maquettes directly work as reference for his dinosaur illustrations.
So, I bought a bit of wire and plasticine (hope that's the word). The kind which does not harden. I will try and build a skeleton and apply "flesh" to it, using a bit of reference to come up with basic lizard anatomy (hopefully, lol) and then set the whole thing up, pose it, light it and paint it.
Basically, what people did before there was 3D modelling....:D

02 February 2010, 09:20 AM
Hey Mu, if you run out of plasticine, even kneadable erasers are a great sculpting medium.
It works best if you put 2 erasers together though :D

02 February 2010, 12:03 PM
Hey Johan,

I think that's an excellent maquette! It delivers very useful information on the neck-frill's shadow on the back. Did you ever use it to paint a triceratops?

02 February 2010, 05:38 PM

started on the maquette. I took a iguana skeleton as a reference, because I liked the scales and the anatomy of the iguana head. I will base my dragon on it.

added tin foil for basic volume and to make the plasticine stick to the wire structure:

and a bit of flesh so it starts to look like I really started...:D

02 February 2010, 06:42 PM
Great start on your sculpt!
Looking forward to see the next steps.

I have to admit that dino didn't last too long. I made that at the office one day when I was bored. I keep my kneadable eraser in a tiny tin box though so I had to squeeze it in there again to take it back home.

02 February 2010, 10:36 PM
Hey Johan,

maybe you should give it a try, too! It's faster than 3D modelling for me, lol.

Damn, I don't know why I did not realize that the mouth came out twice as big as it should have been. But that's not much of a problem. I am mainly looking for lighting information like this one:

(I am not even sure if I am going to paint the whole thing).

Of course, if you are able to sculpt so well you could use the thing as a direct ref like Gurney does it's even better, but no use trying to get it all done on the very first attempt. For now, I am fascinated with the reflected light on some of the scale blobs behind the head. I did not expect that (unlike the quick light fall-off which I expected...)

Now, to finish the whole thing I need the tale done and a few additions. Also, the pose is slightly tweakable still and I can go and search for a nice perspective.

02 February 2010, 12:39 AM
Do you have the graphics to go along with your story? I would like to see how it turned out and correspondes with each other.

I also found this link ( that is somewhat useful.

02 February 2010, 07:42 AM
No, no drawings yet. Or, well, I tried a first page, but realized I need to learn a lot more about character concepts, interiors and page design and... :D

You can see my attempts here (

02 February 2010, 10:19 AM
Try some candle light...get that flickering light effect going on...:D

02 February 2010, 01:52 PM
Hi Glenn, it doesn't exactly flicker, but see for yourself...:D

worked on the tail, a bit of scale ref on the leg, and so on...

with the shaded lamp:

with one candle, extremely quick light fall-off:

Two candles and a better perspective. Will add a few details which I need as ref for the drawing, then shoot again from this angle and start the drawing:

02 February 2010, 02:45 PM
I think the guy who used candle light to its fullest was named LATORE.. one of the OLD MASTERS..Not sure of the spelling, but check his works out if you get the chance to..MIGHT GIVE YOU SOME IDEAS for the lighting that you haven't thought of yet..just a thought that might be useful to this point with the piece your exploring and experimenting with.:)
I'm enjoying this OLD MASTER approach to lighting that your geting into..No electicity back then...only sunshine and candles...which produced alot of masters, and masterpieces..:)

03 March 2010, 12:07 PM
Someone here needs to clean his PM inbox (over quota :p )

Hey Mu,

I am currently reading "Alla Prima - Everything I know about Painting" by Richard Schmid.

He talks a lot about light and color etc.
on page 127, he explains that White is the coolest pigment on our palette, because every color you mix it with, will end up cooler (due to less saturation).

I remembered we discussed this a while ago.
I think the reason why we have problems with this is because we paint a subject that is in warm light. (warm highlights, cool shadows)

When we work in cool light, this works to our advantage, because then the highlights are cooler than the shadows.

So the trick to avoid this problem we had is to avoid a really warm light source.

A quote, (sort of):
"If we must work in warm light, we have a problem. The warm light then works against our mixtures and because we simply cannot avoid using white to lighten them, we must constantly compensate for the cooling effect of white by also introducing yellows and reds when raising values."

I hope this helps explain our recent issue a bit concerning the color temperature change when mixing with white (or at least I hope to evoke some thought on the topic).
In any case, we will have to experiment a lot to obtain a deep understanding of the effects. But one of the main things I am learning now with this book is that it is very important to understand that we do not paint our subject, but we paint the light on our subject.
This book is probably the most expensive one I bought, but it is truly amazing and I highly recommend it if you want to learn more about painting from life.

EDIT: I just checked my Visa Invoice and the book was about 50, so that's not too bad all in all, considered the postal costs are included and this book is really a treasure of both information and eyecandy.


03 March 2010, 12:53 PM
Hey Johan,

thanks for your time to write this down. It is indeed a very helpful insight into the reasons for my problem with mixing white. A thing to try now would be to really test a cool light against warm shade setting and see if that works better!

Thanks for letting me know about the book. Another addition to my ever growing list of amazon wishes...:scream:

BTW, quota cleared, hit the keyboard and pm me!

03 March 2010, 10:40 PM
Hi everybody,

here's what I got following my sculpture (maquette) shots:

It's all HB pencil until now, I guess another 90mins HB pencil of basic values and rendering details, then on to adding contrast and the darkest darks with a 2B.

Sorry for the color tint and that vertical line: the drawing's a bit larger and I had to stitch two scans together...

03 March 2010, 08:09 AM
Wow looking good already!
(As expected... James Gurney is a man who really knows what he is talking about so if he says this procedure works, it works... this piece is the living proof of that :) )

Looking forward to see the next stage Mu

03 March 2010, 03:57 PM
Hi - thanks Johan, yes, I am saving money for his "Imaginative Realism - how to paint what doesn't exist"! The guy rocks...

Update, sorry for the crappy stitch, but the sheet got twisted a bit. Final touches to be expected in the coming days and then a final scan...
Anything you would like to point out?

03 March 2010, 05:54 PM
hm nope not really, just keep going :)

03 March 2010, 01:40 PM
Good job Mr. Mu! I did not get anything done this weekend.

03 March 2010, 08:48 PM

Johan and Aggie - thanks for watching this.

Just a few details, a bit more darkness. I consider this done. Can't spend any more time on this. Maybe I will color it a bit digitally, maybe not. On to pen/ink character sketches, maybe a bit of watercolor...

03 March 2010, 10:34 PM
Hey MISTER MU...I like the way your dragon piece came out, and the process you used for it's developement...Great way to learn about lighting ect....:) :thumbsup:

Below is a link that you might find interesting...In the thread, they are going through different steps of creation for a story that they intend to create...Some great little storyboard sketches a few pages into the thread, that might give you some thoughts on how things fall together along the way in the process of taking an idea and running with it..:)
The link is right below..enjoy.

03 March 2010, 12:38 PM
thanks for the link, Glenn, I'll check that out for sure...:thumbsup:

04 April 2010, 08:37 AM
Hi Mu, thank's for sharing your dragon piece process with us! :) Making a maquette looks like a very effective way of getting accurate structure and lighting. I shall add that to the very very long list of things I need to try ;)

06 June 2010, 07:09 AM
Hi there Mu :)

That is one impressive dragon drawing! I really like the way you set it like a still life, which you then turned into 'dramatic life' in your drawing! Great job :)

cheers and take care
a. :)

06 June 2010, 12:55 PM
thanks for dropping by, Annette!

08 August 2010, 07:49 PM
Hi there,

just throwing a self portrait at you to announce forthcoming upload of a few life drawing gestures and casual other stuff I did in the next few days.

I did a few things which I was very unhappy about. Mainly watercolor pencils. My main problem with them - so I thought - is that I tend to get very detailed right from the start which makes everything look ugly.

So, watercolor self portrait today - and to my dismay I realized my watercolor shows the same problem. I think I know where this might be from.

I have a problem getting dark tones right. Mainly due to two problems:

I tend to apply colours to light for fear of adding too much dark value, just to realize it's not nearly half as dark as I thought when it's all dry.
I work from pans with dry watercolors and it's hard to activate enough colour for a really dark wash.

Results: too many glazes ("Argh! Too light! Another wash!"), therefore too many unwanted edges, fiddly overall impression from going back over and over to the same spots.

In the end I despaired and used lamp black which looks like an alien element, here.

So, there... (oh, and I might add that I am not really that yellow... )
click for higher res... ( (

08 August 2010, 05:14 PM
I got a set of watercolor paints this weekend.
Might give them a try next weekend.

Looks pretty hard to meh

08 August 2010, 05:53 PM
Glad I found this sketchbook! Nice stuff all around. You've got some excellent sketches and studies, and it looks like you are well on your way to translating that into painting. Awesome!

I have similar issues with watercolors. I tend to end up with a million transparent washes, and have difficulty maintaining edges and blending while trying to achieve the proper values. After experimenting with watercolors and many other things, I've found that oil paint is really my preferred medium: there is no other medium that allows me to control the blending, edges, values, etc. directly in a way that makes sense to my brain quite like oil. However, you've done a great job with your water color self portrait.

Nice sketchbook here! Can't wait to see more :)

08 August 2010, 12:29 PM
Hey Mister Mu..:wavey:

I like that self portrait...:thumbsup:

Yellow and purple mixed will give you a rich golden color..good for skin tones.
Always go about three times darker than you should, and when it dries, your water colors will have a nice richness and intensity to the color..vibrant.
A good heavy weight stock of watercolor paper is also key to success..Archers 100 percent rag clocth..cold press or hot press..try them both.
You can buy a big single sheet, and cut whatever sizes you want out of it..a bunch of small sizes to experiment with, and a couple of bigger ones for your best efforts can be gotten out of a single sheet.
The good pressed rag cloth paper is expensive, but well worth it..:)

08 August 2010, 04:52 PM

I like the battle scene with the dinosaur, as well as the process you used to build it - some nice photos in there. Great work!

09 September 2010, 06:16 PM
Hi Johan,

watercolors are special, but my weapon of choice. I decided there's no medium which excites me as much as watercolor does. I even love good abstract watercolors and I normally hate abstract paintings with a passion...:D

thanks for your visit and the nice words. In fact, what you say about oils is the same for watercolor with me. Funny how we respond to the characteristics of a given medium, isn't it?

as always, you're back with a treasury of great tips. I will try this and I do agree that the paper seems to be very important in the whole game of watercolour. I had papers which were based on wood fibres so far and while cheap they seem to tear easily and seems to undulate quickly (even with 250g/m)
Will try the good paper soon...:wavey:

so nice to still see you hanging out in this thread...:)
I need to pay you a visit, too!

09 September 2010, 11:18 PM
hi there,

just two zoo doodles:

click for high res ( (

preparin two new painting projects, stay tuned!



10 October 2010, 04:16 AM
Hi Mu :)

I like these doodles! The fast approach adds both movement and a sense of freshness to them which can easily be lost in prolonged fiddling. I think you're making excellent progress in your watercolour adventure - and I can well appreciate that feeling when you discover a medium you really like :arteest:

With ample risk of putting my foot in it (repeating stuff you already know...) here are a few questions and suggestions...

Wetting the paper can help achieve flow and coverage of large areas (thicker paper definitely responds better to this).
Do you mask areas you want to protect? With the paper being the "light" in watercolour, masking an area you want to have as pure light, allows you to work more 'boldly' on the area around...
I really love the way your quicker studies (the doodles above) have less edges between dark and light, there's more variation in brush strokes and still enough definition to create depth

I think I remember someone saying that it helps to divide watercolour painting into 3 stages: background washes (& if you're not working wet-on-wet, let dry a bit before moving on), your mid-tones and finally your darkest tones. I did a quick search and found an article where an artist explores the benefits of painting "backwards" i.e. from dark to light - it looks quite interesting especially as he says the darker colours become more vibrant this way - maybe worth giving it a try? How to paint Backwards (

cheers and happy painting!
a. :)

10 October 2010, 03:42 PM
hey Mu, liking the latest watercolour washes, nice work.....


10 October 2010, 10:47 PM
Hi Annette,

yea, at times I flood the paper with water. I need the right paper, though. Sometimes I sketch on junk paper which would not hold it.
I also mask areas sometimes. I am still in the middle of exploring it all.

Going from dark to light in watercolour sounds like the best of both worlds, but the linked example (thanks a lot!) looks like you have to be very accurate in matching the right values from the start, which I am very bad at, LOL.

krispee - thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

here's more exercises for a project or goal of mine. I want to do a self portrait, deep shades and lines in ink, colour and detail washes in watercolour. Hence self portrait exercises in ink.

I realized I can use my webcam for self portraits, btw! It is quite amazing, because with a normal mirror you need to add more mirrors to do sideviews and with a webcam, looking at the monitor, I can view myself from any side and keep a straight look on my paper!

All of the following ones are 2 minute sketches. I started with brush and ink, in several sizes, went over to marker and finally combined marker linework with brush washes for an overall 2+2 minute self portrait from webcamed monitor view.

this is 5+5 minutes, linework with markers, washes with brush

10 October 2010, 10:48 PM
and this is 10+10, same method.
I find this awkward. How can it suck so much, being twice the length. I seem to focus on the wrong things when I got more time! Well...

10 October 2010, 06:09 PM
nice brushwork - the last post is the weakest - too static - IMHO - but the others are very nice.

10 October 2010, 09:01 PM
Thank you very much for your honest and insightful comment,Gord. I feel exactly the same way about the last one. It's strange how more time resulted in this stiff approach.

10 October 2010, 04:36 AM
and this is 10+10, same method.
I find this awkward. How can it suck so much, being twice the length. I seem to focus on the wrong things when I got more time! Well...

Imho, it's because when we tell ourselves we will "make a really nice drawing" and we lengthen the process, we get caught up in details and we stop drawing from the elbow or shoulder and start working from the wrist more than we need to. The "schwung" gets lost when we start thinking too much iso seeing.

A solution may be to step back a few meters and check your proportions, shadows etc
Also, when stepping back, turn around and walk forward rather than stepping backwards. This way you will have taken your eyes off your work for a couple of seconds, and your view will be slightly fresher.

10 October 2010, 12:42 PM
Honestly, I think these are great practices you have posted lately and I cannot tell if they are digital or traditional. BTW I love to work with watercolor pencils.

02 February 2011, 03:49 PM

White pastel and charcoal on toned paper. Photo ref from a book on Cuba and the Revolution. And what looks like a strange Fidel is a lousy portrait of Che. Sorry Cubans...^^

02 February 2011, 05:11 PM
AH...there you go..Got and captured feeling in those last two...:thumbsup: Nice techniques also...:)

Hope all is well with you and yours over in your neck of the woods..:)
Take Care MR MU..:thumbsup:

02 February 2011, 11:44 PM
Thanks Glenn!

We're all fine and there's a bit of news ahead on the drawing frontier... stay tuned...^^

02 February 2011, 09:59 AM
Looks like a formula that works well for you Mu

Looking forward to see more :)

CGTalk Moderation
02 February 2011, 09:59 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.