TUTORIAL - Figurative Concept Pieces - by Gangus


What about the paper? Which one do you tend to use? do you use like a normal paper to do thumbs or sketches and bristol paper to do the final drawing?


Very helpfull topic, its always interesting to see how an artist works


Hey Glen! Thanks very much for the info - really appreciate it!

Cheers :slight_smile:
p.s. yeah Montreal’s a really beautiful city :love:


Hey guys,
michael-olszak: The paper that I prefer to work on is that bristol smmoth illustration paper that comes
in the 14 by 20" pads. I tend to do my thumbs on yhr same page out around the corners of the illos space so that I can always refer back tothem without digging through reams of old paper.

As brand goes I am pretty oblivious to any major differences as they go- so long as they are aproximately the same stuff- (Depends what Michaels or Hobby Lobby) happens to stock at the time- I think right now I have a Canson pad o paper. Hope this answers your question.


No problem Intervain: Glad I could be of assistance - let me know if you ever have any other questions.


Very cool. I’m glad you put these up and I’m adding my name to those looking forward to your workshop.


Hi Guys,

I have decided to add to this tutorial and give you more insight into the kind of things I will want to address in the upcoming workshop.

I hope you enjoy this, and can hopefully get a few tips or tricks to add to your arsenals.
If there is nothing new to you here- I hope you enjoy this for shits and giggles.




PS -I am posting a larger full compilation of this with the final piece and another character concept to the 2D gallery- If it gets in please check it out and show your workshop support :slight_smile:

This will also be viewable with another larger related piece in my portfolio here on CGtalk.


Here’s the final piece.

It will be posted larger in my portfolio if you want to get a closer look.


Oh Glen, this is fantastic! Thanks for sharing! If only I could draw like this sigh I love the character, really sneaky look [made me think of Uriah Heep LOL - he’s the villain] I also love your masked girl that you’ve put in the portfolio:bounce:


cool man. thanks for the answers and the tut man. this really helps.


Beautiful work. Thank you for the additional tutorial! :slight_smile:

LOL Al Gore’s internet…the one made of tubes? :smiley:

EDIT: A serious question :slight_smile: - I would be interested in knowing how you learned to draw - what methods you found the most useful, and whether you have always drawn in this style, or whether it evolved as a result of study of a particular kind of artform. Also I am curious to know the kind of study you generally recommend to other artists who are interested in drawing the human form in a stylized manner.



God I am so glad you included an explanation as to your wonderfully textured backgrounds as this was something that really enchanted me about your drawings, but I did not dare to ask, because it seemed a bit ignorant to ask for the bg with so wonderful concpets in the foreground, heh…

Also, noone else seemed to wonder which made me think that I gotta be the only noob out there who does not know how to do it…:smiley:



Thanks Rebeccak,
Excellent question. Sorry if I couldn’t field it right away.
Not to discount my high school teacher (probably one of the meanest ol bastards you would find in the catholic Canadian school system- but extremely influential) my college experience
and professors I would have to say I am self taught.
There are some deciding factors that have greatly influenced my style. As with past artists I have naturally been influenced by my peers and those before me.

To give a basic run down- As a young’n - My greatest inspiration came from the elegant linework illustrations of Jeff Dee and Rosloff from that old purple hard cover Deities and demigods book for Dungeons and Dragons. They are tough to find - but man the simplicity of the gods drawn in there and the strength of their poses are still a real influence in my work today.

Next I went to University and frustrated by the overly “fine art” approach and the general dislike of my attention to detail and sense of realism I ended up studying as an art history major. There I fell in love with the art of Alphonse Much and Maxfield Parish. I found the same sense of designed elegance that first grabed my eye in the deities book.

I then went to college for Graphic Design (yeah I know still not directly related to fantasy art or digital painting and concept work- but boy I sure am getting older) Ironically it wasn’t until I started teaching at the same school years later and being forced to teach a basic
Design class, for which I was originally loathe to do -being more an illustrator at heart.
It was here where I learned myself -to apply the basic principals of design towards every piece that I worked on.

Another huge step in the self teaching process was to finally come into contact with a similar style real life fantasy artist. Arnie Swekel- A popular Magic artist and D&D illustrator need help with some jobs he had at the time. It was a huge thing for me to see his original drawings- I changed that day seeing that actual pencil on board- with a new found sense of direction and a friendly hand into the industry I began drawing more and more.
(Later in years I like to think I paid some of my debt back to Arnie by pushing him to paint onthe computer- but it is tough to equal inspiration like that-especially at that time in my life where you start to think it is impossible to make a living doing something you love)

From there I slowly refined and refined my style until it began to take it’s own form. Ironically (again) I still do not see “style” in my own work. I just see it as “my stuff” everyone tells me I have a drawing style but I really don’t see it- where as I could look at someone like Miracola or Velinov and say now there’s a style.

If I were to recomend a study for anyone seeking to draw with a certain style- I would say three things:

  1. Draw more! These workshop and anatomy forums are great to push you to do that- but you have to be continuosly drawing the figure until it becomes second nature- then I think once you are comfortable enough in your rendering that your style will emerge. Often I don’t feel that people focus enough on anatomy (myself included) It helps in drawing everything. Understanding how the body holds itself, the joints support and counter support the weight- will help even the oddest of creature designs themselves have a sense of style and believability.

  2. Go and see other peoples artwork in person. standing a foot away from an original and seeing the actual hatchmarks- the places where they made mistakes, and the impressions in the paper or board make all thew difference in the world. The same goes for learning to paint. Seeing Lockwood’s original oil paintings actually helped me work out in my mind how to paint better digitally. They are that impressive.

  3. Network and learn from your peers- I now get the pleasure of working alongside some great artists at Raven as well as get excellent feedback from this forum. I share an office with Mitch Cotie www.mcotie.com who is an awesome very stylized artist himself- who has greatly influenced my work in the past 4 years. Also getting to work with a friend and peer from the entertainment community with lighting and animation experience www.dhay.net has really made a difference with how I approach each composition as a lit scene. There are some serious talents here on CGtalk if they make themselves availabe I suggest picking up whatever tips or inspiration from them that you can (I sure do)

Oh well, I hop this answers Rebeccak’s question and gives you guys some insights on how I draw the way I do.



Heres another pencil- you can check out the larger version in the blueline that it was drawn in at my cgportfolio.

Please stop by the 2D finished section if you want to see it painted- should hopefully be up by Saturday.

Hope you like,




Thanks so much for the in depth reply - that is incredibly insightful, and I think rings true for many people wanting to create realistic work in a university system devoted mostly to ‘fine art’. It’s great to see this level of traditional work with an explanation of your background as I think it’s an encouraging benchmark and example of what is possible with pencil, paper, and practice (the 3 P’s) - very much looking forward to your Workshop in April. :slight_smile:

One more question, if you get the chance - are there any specific anatomy books that you might recommend to others? And are there more influential artists whom you might name?

Cheers :slight_smile:


Hey Gangus. My girlfriend just baught a new X-BOX game (Marvel Ultimate Alliance) you made the artwork for it right? Cool stuff man.


michael-olszak: Yeah I had a big part in it, but there were a ton of other great artists involved on staff as well. Awesome game though eh? It gets to be a real blast when you start kick’n up the serious powers, team combo and special fighting moves. My favourite is summonning a whirlwind with Thor and then calling down lightening with his hammmer while they are helpless in the air. I never grow tired of it :slight_smile:

Thanks for the questions.
If I could submit a list of musty have anatomy books they would be:

Anatomy for the Artist by Sarah Simblet ISBN 0-7894-8045-X
George B. Bridgman Contructive Anatomy ISBN 0-486-211-4
George B. Bridgman Complete Guide to Drawing From Life ISBN 0-8069-3015-2
Oddly enough I still find that old “How to draw the Marvel Way” excellent for
those still struggling making their anatomy dramatic (sorry I don’t have the ISBN)

and then I would basically suggest studying from your peers as well.

A list of some of my other favourite inspirational artists where figure creation is concerned

I’m a huge fan of the pure figurative and natural expression of pose from the God of Illustration - Frank Frazetta.

I love the flair of Simon Bisley

In terms of meeting a perfect median of looseness to tight rendering a good friend of mine from accross the drink a guy called Greg Staples often inspires me (even though we don’t keep in touch as much as we used to) check him out at http://www.gregstaples.co.uk/
tell 'm Glen Angus gives his highest regards.

For the zainyness factor I love drawing inspiriation from:
Glenn Barr
Joe Chiodo
and Joe Sorren

If I could have a drawing conscience/guru (kind of like that guy “Icepick” that Magnum
P. I. -sorry showing my age- would always go to when he is in a real fix it would be:
Brandon Kitkouski at http://www.bkstudio.com/

Hope this gives you guys a good frame of reference for where I am mentally when looking for specific inspiration


Can’t wait to get further in the game to see all of this. Unfortunately i’m not really a gamer. i usually start a game, play it for like an hour and then get back to the computer to check CGtalk or play with photoshop :slight_smile: never to touch the game again.

I love Simon Bisley’s art as well man. the way he draws the muscalature is just amazing man. Frank rocks at it as well of course!!

so when you were learning to draw did you like, copy some of their work or just kept it aside you to refer to their rendering techniques?

what i usually do is download some pictures of models from the internet and draw them. what do you think of that approach. any tips??

I recently bought an anatomy book and draw the bones and muscles from it. is that better.

sorry for al the questions :slight_smile:


Appreciations for the material you’ve put out already, and and especially the depth of your response on your history of with drawing.

I really like the piece Hel in your gallery. I have not seen many pieces visualizing her and you’ve done an amazing job. I didn’t expect a brown palette to work so well for her… any scraps of visuals I had were definitely in blues :). Victory Gal- Angel of death is also engaging, especially with the context of your similar pieces WWII plane pieces.

Look forward to the workshop :slight_smile:


Hiyas, Gangus! I originally posted this message in another part of this forum but was encouraged (By Becca :smiley: ) to post it in this thread instead, I guess it’s because the style I am aiming for is a mix between the one you got and some other pencil artists out there.

So here goes;

I started pencil drawing rather recently and I’ve been doing a lot of studies lately. However, when drawing without a reference I struggle with creating clean lines. I always got a pretty clear idea of what I’m aiming at with the picture but when I try to draw it I do these small sketchy lines all the time and it bugs the hell out of me. They completely ruin the picture and after a few erases the paper I’m working on is pretty much wasted as well. My current pencil goal is a sort of exaggerated anatomy. I also got a problem of implementing the anatomy knowledge I’m supposed to get from the studies I do. Without references I constantly get it all wrong even if the mental image is correct. My characters also end up unnaturally stiff and in poses that suggest they are dolls or suffer from rigor mortis :confused:

Can you perhaps give me some pointers on how to start drawing without references as you do, how to develop my pencil confidence and get cleaner lines? I don’t expect an answer that will magically turn me into a fully developed artist (we never do develop fully either for that matter), but perhaps something along the way of what I should study and more importantely HOW I should implement this knowledge.

I got a picture as well to show an artist who got a really crisp style and obviously knowledge of anatomy. It might be inked but I’d like to believe that this picture didn’t originally start as a nest of lines as my pictures tend to. I’m speaking of the picture now, not the model. :stuck_out_tongue:


I hope this doesn’t isn’t a too time consuming question.

Cheers Gangus, I hope I can attend to your workshop in April. :slight_smile:


Hi Wasker,

Be sure to thank Rebecca for sending you to me- I always apreciate helpinh other artists if I can. Let me do my best to address your problems.

First- I do keep material around me for reference. I never really draw from a model or a photo to produce my images (though I am going to try that in the near future for shits and giggles with this professional model in Chicago) But I do keep a ton of reference nearby (I believe only a few replies of mine before this - I give a list of books that are great to have)
It’s nice to have a couple of anatomy books on hand to help you remember how certain joints or muscle groups come together. Don’t feel bad- it’s not cheating. A lot of pros out there will only work from photo reference- some of them will even light board poses down as a base. I tend not to do that myself, because I also enjoy the pushing of the human limits and the development of style in the form. Using a little help to make sure you are getting some fundementals down -I believe- is very acceptable.
Another big part of it is you have to keep drawing. Draw so much that you become perfectly comfortable with understanding not just the proportions and visual info of the figure, but more- how it can hold itself, what types of attitude body language can convey, how everything works together to create that sense of balance and believability. Then think about stylizing. I think you are trying to fly before you can walk.

As for the sketchy lines- It’s all about doing those gesture sketches first on a seperate piece of paper. Do a ton of quick studies until that one that is trapped in your head gets on the page be it by luck, pure perseverance or from a drug induced state (just kidding-kids don’t do drugs-elmers glue works just as good) Once you have that (and believe me you’ll know because it’ll be loose but still convey that attitude.) then lightly transfer that onto some sturdy paper (illustration bristol- it can take more of a beating from earasers)
Which leads me to another reason I use the stanford colout pencils to draw with- pencil in the basic shaps in a lighter blue, and then once you are happy with them - go in and stregthen your line quality with the darker blue. Now your earlier scribbles in the lighter tone- you will see will be the very thing that gives your final piece character. People may apreciate your final piece more if they can see part of the journey that it took to get it there right on the paper.

I hope this helps.

As for the example of the other illustrator- I’m pretty sure he’s from france and does unbelievable work strictly designing figures. If you want to know who depresses me- it’s guys who can draw like that :slight_smile: