Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fancy Pants Coffee sipping sketches

Once again, some quick sketches at the local starbucks while sipping my fancypants coffee drink.  Gonna try to keep this up until my holiday ends.  GOGOGO! 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Frenzy Mall Sketches!!

Going to the mall is a huge hassle during the holiday season, yes? I agree!! After a few hours of getting my shopping done, I figured the best way to take a break is to take advantage of the gajilliions of people trying to get their holiday shopping done. Naturally, I grabbed a cup of coffee and just sat in a resting area to draw. So many faces to choose from, and you only have about 4-6 seconds to capture what you THINK you see before they walk past you.

Out comes the mini sketchbook (another great reason to carry one around is you dont wanna carry a large letter size sketchbook while you have arms full of shopping bags), and my trusty Micron and away I go.

I think my favourite one is this first one of the lady working at 2nd cup.

Oh what fun it is to draw.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Finally a chance to cafe sketch. love it.

Feels good to draw for myself after a long hiatus. Been so busy lately with animation that I haven't had nearly as much time as I'd like to keep up with this hobby of mine. At first I felt quite rusty but as I loosened up i felt much better and came to realize once again why I love doing this. I have about 3 weeks before I get back into crunch mode, so hopefully i'll have more sketches done by then.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Time Flies Time Out Beijing

So it's been about 3 months since Beijing. Crazy how time flies when you've got piles of work to do, very little sleep, and lots of caffeine. Being in a delirious state can be nice--experience your days in a dream-like state.

Here's December's Time Out Beijing piece. I'm starting to like this 'bland' black outline with no weight on it. Maybe i'll try scratchier, sketchier lines next time. Or maybe not.

only 19 weeks left!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Inspired to do...a quick 15 minute sketch of Ron Wilson?!

Haven't had much time lately to do much digital painting. So while browsing some of the blogs of inspirational artists (some of whom got to got to ISCA--formerly NCN, this year). Some of the art i've seen blew my mind. Hard to believe how much improvement had taken place over a year, yet I feel like i've stagnated somewhat. Gotta draw more. This really sparked me to create something amazing. Well at least ATTEMPT to.

Unfortunately this quick 15 minute sketch was all that would come of it. I DID manage to sketch and paint this entirely digitally (usually i need to sketch on paper first for my best results), so i guess i am learning new tricks somewhat. But do i credit this trick to my new larger tablet?

I actually painted this while watching a Ron Wilson Q&A. Go Leafs Go? No?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A 10 second Animated short -- 'Dummy'

Here's one that's a tad longer than 2 seconds. We were to model an existing toy and create a 10 second bumper interstitial. Props to Yoshi's Island for the silly background music. Enjoy!

Friday, November 6, 2009

My Wooden Robot's Walk Cycle of fun

He's a pre-rigged, out of the box, robot....apparently made of wood. This is the walk cycle I sweated over for Sheridan's Computer Animation program. Tweaked him a bunch, and perhaps i'll even upload the funky weird ones i did too. Might start another blog with a peer to work on goofy lip syncing. That should be fun, yes?

Rookie the Shocked Cat and his new home!

Let's all congratulate my friends (including Rookie the Shocked Cat) on purchasing their first house a few weeks ago! Woohoo!! This was a greeting card done for them to send out to all their friends and family.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How to Get'er DONE efficiently! TimeOut Beijing November.

"...everyone in the engine room drowned..." -- Phyllis, The Office

I love that show, how fitting that i'm watching this episode as i write this. The engine room folks on the Titanic were a hard working bunch. Hardworking is GOOD but dont drown in your work like i almost did. The past 2 weeks have been insanity the manatee but here's how I dealt with it.

Once again it was time for another one for TimeOut Beijing. This was a quick turnaround that had to be done during a jam packed schedule and overall i'm quite happy with it. I was up to my neck in deadlines and projects. So what happens is when task after task is stacked up against us, we hyperventilate and get overwhelmed. The cure for fixing that feeling of overwhelmed-ness (is that a word?) is to make a plan.

For example: a commission with 2 subjects-- i will divide it into tasks such as:
1. research
3. composition/block-in
4. details for subject 1
5. details for subject 2
6. background
7. touchups

Even simply writing this out will make you feel more in control. So the above works out nicely to complete 1 task per day over 7 days + 1 extra day for buffer. This way you do not over commit yourself and drain your energy for other projects you have to do that day. Of course you will have to adjust your task management according to the amount of time you are given per project, which is why using a day planner or agenda is extremely useful. I always use one of these to remind myself of deadlines, events, and which tasks i should do and which day, how much time to allot to them, etc.

What do people think? i'd love to hear how other people manage their projects.

As for this piece above, my personal goals were to use more vibrant colours and achieve a cartoonier feel. Any comments and crits are appreciated.

[update] i got a comment concerning '7 days being a long time to do this illustration', which is true, in most cases for magazines you only get a day or two like the above. The example i used above is purely example, and is usually a timeframe easier to follow for caricature commissions.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Homage to Chuck Jones' "Transylvania 6-5000"--Happy Halloween!

Took an old sketch inspired by Jones' Dracula design (and one of my favourite Bugs' cartoons of all time) and played around in photoshop with different painting methods. Here's what i came up with. Any comments and crits compared to what i usually do?

Seems like a fitting sketch, yes? Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

pro: duo monitors, con: small buggy dinky tablet

Just got my copy of Adobe Master's Collection CS4 and have only played around with Photoshop thus far. In fact, this quick painting below is the only thing i've really done with it.

Bonus: borrowing my girlfriend's extra 17" LCD monitor while she's away without asking..thanks Kelda!

i'm used to CS2 and so it was refreshing and slightly confusing shifting over to the CS4 interface. The brush options palette was hard to find at first but when I did, I tore it off and put it on my 2nd monitor. Along with it i placed my layers palette, the color/swatches, and this new 'adjustments' palette that I have yet to use or figure out. In the rest of the space I place reference photos and a smaller version of my current painting. This tip was taught to me by Bobby Chiu -- go to Window -> Arrange -> New Window for [filename]. This opens up a new frame your current window that I use to shrink down and keep as reference while painting. It's like when you paint traditionally and take a step back to assess the piece as a whole. Handy!

My only drawback is that i have a 4x6 tablet which is not suitable for widescreen, but the extra real estate really helps me organize the workspace.

Going to be working more on my desktop these days and less from my nearly-explosive laptop. If anyone knows where I can get an affordable larger Intuos3 (or better) let me know!

Friday, October 16, 2009

curing the itch to sketch which induces barf..

Once again, finding time to sketch is increasingly hard to come by. Once in a while I get the itch during times where it isn't quite convenient or comfortable for sketching. Got the itch while in a long grocery line up. Luckily i had a mini sketchbook with me at the time.

This time around the itch came while I was on my 1.5 hr commute. I find that it's easier for me to draw on a subway versus the bus. This is mostly due to the fact that subways only move in 2 directions, and generally i face forward or to the side (going backwards makes me want to yak).

So my point is, i haven't had the itch in a while, and the itch came while i was on a bus ride--which involves acceleration, deceleration, winding turns, the aromatic smells of people's food, limited leg room and arm room (and i'm not a tall person, that's how crammed it was). What is one to do?

I busted out the clipboard and doodled some live sketches, memory sketches until i felt like puking (took about 30 minutes), and then dozed off for the rest of my trip.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Peter De Seve's amazing sketchbook -- drawing from imagination?

Picked up Peter De Seve's amazing sketchbook a few weeks ago, and it is very inspiring. He has some amazing drawings of characters; I wonder if these characters are inspired by actual people he sees. I'm sure some of them have to be from his imagination, like this one drawing of a wiry naked man in a tree.

Just goes to show that drawing out of your imagination is just as important as drawing from life. I feel like i've spent so much time drawing people and caricature sketches in cafes through observation that i often forget to delve into my imagination to draw something out of my head. I've almost forgotten how to make something up. I used to be good at this. I wonder if our imagination-power decays as we get older....I suppose like most things, it only decays if you dont exercise it. I'm going to start drawing more from my head and blogging it.

This quick sketch however is from observation and served as a warm up for today's workload. And what a workload it was...

Been so busy these days, it's getting hard to find time to sketch, draw and paint for myself.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Free Caricatures @ Nuit Blanche & Time Out Beijing October

Attention all Nuit Blanche attendees--i will be drawing free caricatures at the 11th Annual Design Competition called Art of Fashion held at The Distillery District's Fermenting Cellar. I'm only there for the beginning portion of the event from 6PM until about 8PM. So if you're going to be at Nuit Blanche, come a little early for a free drawing. Hope to see you there!

And on a completely different note, I'd just like to say that I'm really happy to be continuing my work with Time Out Beijing from abroad. Here's a new commission for their October issue. Let me know what you all think in the comments!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

6 Ways to Stay Focused while Distracted

How often do you find yourself wanting to get some work done, but struggle during that first step of getting into work-mode. It's like fighting against gravity, isn't it? When I find myself in this position, I find that the best way for me to be productive is to become focused while distracted.

This may not make any sense to you (or maybe it does), but I find the best way for me to stay focused is to work while things are happening around me. These distractions are enough to keep my mind from falling asleep, yet not disruptive to the point where i lose concentration. The key is to only use distractions that you know won't pull your attention away from your task at hand.

1. warm up
Just like those sketches above, you should start with a quick warm-up , whether that be sketching, reading, meditating, writing, whatever it is. This will set your mind up for work-mode and is much easier to sink into the heavier tasks from this position.

2. movies and television

You may be like me and enjoy working while your TV is on. I've tried this a bunch of times to figure out what works best for me to stay focused. As it turns out, light comedies such as The Office are perfect for me. Having the noise and comedic banter in the background fills the silence, and may even induce a chuckle while you work. This is especially helpful if you're watching a familiar movie or tv show which you have seen countless times before. This reduces the number of surprises that will fight for your attention.

3. Instrumental music

I have always enjoyed listening to music while drawing. The only problem with this is that a lot of music has lyrics. You might find that the lyrics in music will tend to make you sing along. For me, I find this very distracting. So instead, i listen to instrumental music. Humming along is a lot easier than trying to remember lyrics.

4. Talk radio

If you do in fact find yourself humming along with the music from #2, then perhaps listening to talk radio will be more helpful. With talk radio i usually notice i am able to pay attention to the radio and pick up key points from the host, without it totally destroying my focus. And if you really get into the groove, you will find that you completely zone out the radio altogether and it all simply becomes background noise.

5. Work in public

While a library may work for some, it may be way too quiet for others. This is why a cafe is the best substitute. There is enough foot traffic nearby to look up from your work for a quick break and people watch for a minute or two, yet it's usually quiet enough to get some work done as well. This works well with any other suggestion from the above, and sometimes you'll find that the change of scenery is quite refreshing than your usual workspace.

6. MSN -- if you must use it, must be on silent

I am one of those people who keeps their MSN on 24/7. I dont know why I do this. As many people on my list will attest, I sometimes will message them: "Hey, what's up", only to disappear for 3-4 hours. Now they know why. With MSN you can treat it like a 5 minute reward after 90 minutes of hard work. Come back to it to check your msgs if you find you're losing focus, answer a few people, and then get back to work feeling refreshed. The important thing is to keep your status on Busy so that the sounds from alerts and messages don't distract you prematurely (or turn off sounds altogether). This goes for all other instant messengers, twitter, facebook, linkedin and email.

I hope this lends some insight into how I attempt to stay focused. Let me know what works for you, and share your tactics in the comments below! Stay tuned for more goodies, thanks all.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Using my Nintendo DS to PAINT!

Things have been getting busy lately!

Did these sketches on my DS using a program called Colors! while on the daily commute. I wish I had it in Beijing with me, would have been cool to do some Plein Air digital paints. Sometimes you see something you want to paint, but dont have the tools nor the time to set everything up! I did manage to get some quick pen and ink sketches from the Great Wall, which I will upload soon.

Anyhoo, these are mostly from imagination or slightly inspired by someone sitting nearby.
Let me know what you all think!

[UPDATE] oh and by the way, for those of you who have not tried this wonderful program, Colors! saves a 'movie' of your process as you paint. Now you can watch and share your process with fellow artists, which i always find very inspiring and helpful. Here's a link to my Colors! gallery where you can view the movies and other sketches i've uploaded:

Drop me a line with some feedback!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ice Cream Parlour Victims: the mini sketches part 3

These guys didn't know what they were getting into that night when they were hankering for a double mocha almond sugar cone. But then again, none of them noticed i was drawing into my 3x5" sketchbook.

These books keep getting smaller and smaller. One day i should just start drawing on a 1x1.5" PostIt Pad.

I've been posting all of these sketchbook entries over at drawingboard here if you'd like to see them in their entirety.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Freelancing with Time Out Beijing from Abroad

Here's one for Time Out Beijing's September issue. I've noticed that I use a lot of cool colours in my work, so here i'm trying to use warmer, more cheerful colours. I'm not sure if I like them though, what do you think? I want to try more pastel type colours next time around. Any comments would be appreciated.

More good news is that Time Out Beijing is keeping me on for the time being even though I am no longer in China. That is quite exciting, so keep on the look out for more Time Out stuff.

Also I'm glad some people found my little piece on drawing in public enjoyable. Next I will be working on a similar article about how to stay "pseudo-focused" and I am also working on a digital painting tutorial for drawingboard. I'm not sure if people will find it useful, but I always enjoy seeing different approaches so I figure at least one person might feel the same. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 28, 2009

7 Strategies on Drawing People Discretely in Public

I remember when I first started drawing people in public: it was not only difficult as most people do not freeze in position for sneaky artists to draw, but also quite nerve wracking since you're probably hoping not to get caught. The fear of receiving evil cut-eye, or worse, a grande latte to the face makes starting out quite treacherous.

So I thought it would be fun share a few things with you that I found helpful when I first started out. Enjoy!

1. Get a smaller sketchbook.
Getting a sketchbook that's 5"x7" or smaller is probably the easiest way to keep you and your new hobby a secret from your victim. Or if you're on a budget, simply get some printer paper, cut it into quarters, and staple it together and voila, you're very own pocket sketchbook.

2. Draw on your lap
Take that small sketchbook and draw on your lap instead of the table. Now your victim will not see the sketchbook and will probably just wonder why you enjoy staring into your lap. Either way, your victim will probably shrug it off and leave you alone.

3. Litter the table with other things
"Things" being newspapers, magazines, books, a laptop, textbooks, comic books, socks, your dog...whatever it is you can find that will hide what you're doing from your victim. Your victim will naturally assume that you're working on whatever it is in front of you, rather than his or her face.

4. Avoid erasing
Having to erase requires vigorous movement of your body and probably causes some rattling of the table, which might cause your coffee to spill, resulting in you cursing to yourself aloud. So it's best to not do it. Don't draw attention to yourself. This is another reason why I enjoy using a pen.

5. Use your peripherals
In other words, treat your victim like an eclipse, do not look directly at it. Look around the person; like at that lamp to their left or the window behind them, but keep the person in your field of view. Use your peripheral vision to notice whether they're looking in your direction or not. Then as they direct their attention elsewhere, you take a quick peek and start doodling what you see. This is also important to keep in mind when your head pops back up for a 2nd glance afterward. Start from your peripherals.

6. Memory Sketch
This method is a good exercise that was introduced to me by Stephen Silver. It's best to choose someone not staring in your general direction(obviously). All you do is take 30 seconds to observe and memorize everything you can about the victim; pose, line of action, proportions, key features, personality, etc. Then you take the next 5 minutes or even 5 months to regurgitate everything you remember. Not only does this improve your observational skills, but it also virtually hides the fact that you are drawing your victim. To onlookers it seems like you're drawing straight out of your imagination.

7. Just blatently do it
Ok maybe you shouldn't wave the sketchbook in your victim's face and announce that you're drawing them. But don't be afraid to just draw and let people around you see. Most people I run into are fascinated with what you're doing. The victims usually can't tell that you're doodling them based on the drawing anyway (hmm don't know if that's good or bad actually). The only thing to remember is not to stare and make them feel uncomfortable (refer to #5 above). An easy way to ignore people around you and to stay focused is to listen to music while you're doing this. The music distracts you enough to ignore onlookers but keeps you in your bubble enough to maintain your focus.

I hope this encourages a few of you to get out there and try it if you haven't already. Be sure to drop a line and let me know how it goes. Don't forget to RSS the blog.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

happy fast sketches from the happy panda sketchbook!

Hurray more uploads from wonderful mini-sketchbook I bought in Beijing. This time I included the cover. Yes it's a weird cartoon Panda. Yes it says 'Doing the stretching exercise?' And incidentally, yes I AM kind of doing stretching..

Incidentally, I started a thread over at ( of sketches that I have been doing that are generally in this quick and messy style. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Caricature Commission & Upcoming Film debut @ Cannes Film Festival

This caricature commission is for Gus Apadon, producer of an upcoming film that will debut at Berlin and Cannes Film Festival next year called Pinoy Sunday. It is a Filipino film based in Taiwan. Read more about it here

If all goes according to plan I will be illustrating for the film's treatment-turned-storybook as well. This is shaping up to be a very exciting project.

More on that soon, so check back often or follow the twit (...that would be me on twitter) for updates and other random news.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Digital Painting of Flight of the flight

"No Albi you didn't kill me with your dragon flames. I crawled to safety, but you did leave me very badly disfigured.", laughed the boy.

By far the best line in Albi the Racist Dragon.

Anyhoo, I'm glad to finally post this painting. It's been sitting on the shelf for some time now, had the sketches ready to go, but for some reason could not find time to paint it.

So for those who have been patiently waiting for an update these past 5 days here it is, I hope you all like it. Please feel free to click on the 'comments' link which is at the bottom left of the post. Just take 10 seconds, put down your coffee and donut, log in, and kindly leave any comments, critiques, praises or insults so I can get better at what I do.

In other news, I have been participating in this thread over at and posted an older self caricature painting which shows the step-by-step process, and some people have actually found it useful. I personally found it to be lacking a bit, so I decided to work on a 'mini-tutorial' to see if people find it helpful.

I've been inspired by many tutorials over the past few years. Learning from awesome artists like
Marco Bucci, Joe Bluhm, Court Jones, Bobby Chiu, among others, and found these to be very helpful when I first picked up my Wacom. So hopefully others in my boat will feel the same.

Hurray, I am contributing.

P.S. Don't forget to
RSS the blog for updates.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

added some goodies

This is my Twitter bird I doodled. This is when it occured to me that I should probaby start adding more buttons and pretty things to my blog.

SO, I have added a few goodies that you'll notice on the right side panel.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter But don't worry...I'll try not to update about what I am doing at 9:52PM and then what again at 9:53PM. I have a few tidbits I'll share, perhaps non-art related things and my blog updates will be on there also.

And if you're not a Twit like I am feel free RSS!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Asian Chief Wiggum

I was sketching while watching parts of this Chinese movie Fight Back to School and i realize this Police Chief on the left looks a lot like Chief Wiggum.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

empty cafe sketches

So the cafe was empty...

more doodling out of my head... and this was all i got...perhaps i just needed more coffee.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

standing in the subway

Here are some pages from my 4x6 cartoon panda sketchbook i bought at 'ArtBox'... Panda says 'Doing the Stretching Exercises?'...i guess in a way i am?

These are mostly done standing on the crowded, sweaty, stinky armpit that is the Line1 subway or on the fly.