Industrious Illustrating #58 – Botanical Gardens 2 Electric Boogaloo

Hello and welcome back to another week of Industrious Illustrating! This week I actually have some watercolor and ink sketches I made at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens for the aforementioned map project. I picked the Meyer Lemon plant from the Mediterranean/temperate biome because of its fragrant flowers and fruit providing interesting subjects to paint. It’s been a long time since I last used watercolors, but getting to work with them again reminded me of why I love them so much — there’s just something so charming and beautiful about the layered translucent shades and letting them settle into their own texture on the page.

One of these days I want to do watercolor painting more again — maybe with mechs, since I’ve only really drawn mechs digitally — and at that point I think I’ll have to buy another watercolor paint palette because my current one is at least six to eight years old now and shows every bit of its age! Anyway, I hope everyone will get to enjoy spring break next week and maybe even rekindle their love for an art medium they haven’t touched in ages!

Industrious Illustrating #57 – Katsucon 2024

Hello, and welcome back to another week of Industrious Illustrating! This week’s post is late because I spent the entire weekend in National Harbor, Maryland (near Washington D.C.) at Katsucon — a large anime convention — in the Artist Alley selling merchandise of my artwork! It broke my previous convention sales records several times over and I ran out of a bunch of merch designs, so I’m very happy with the results! I also got to network with and meet a bunch of other amazing artists!

When I was in the area, I also visited the Steven P. Udzar-Hazy Center, which is an offshoot of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum located nearby in Virginia where the space shuttle Discovery is on display alongside an SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde supersonic plane, an X-35B STOVL, and many other exciting civilian and military aircraft! I took lots of reference pictures and even did some on-site sketching to the best of my abilities, though I’m not as practiced at drawing aircraft and I was exhausted from driving all the way to D.C. (with an overnight stop at Pittsburgh) last week.

Anyway, I’m elated that I got the opportunity to do a convention outside of the Michigan-Ohio area for the first time and that I gained so many valuable experiences from it, plus I had lots of fun and made enough money to fund my next art business ventures and pay for a bunch of personal expenses! I’m looking forward to my slate of upcoming cons next month (Anime Milwaukee in, well, Milwaukee at the beginning of the month, Sakuracon in Seattle at the end) and I also hope to do more original design work soon with aircraft as inspiration!

Industrious Illustrating #53 – Life Drawing 5

Hello, and welcome back to another week of Industrious Illustrating! This week’s update is a little brief, since I’m just recapping the trip I took to the La Brea Tar Pits Museum in Los Angeles over winter break. When I was there I took the opportunity to draw some of the fossil skeletons on display to better understand the construction of animal bodies, as I hadn’t seen some of these skeletons in real life before and I want to make more creature/scientific illustrations in the future.

Something interesting about my trip there was that there was a glass windowed viewing area to look at scientists at work cleaning fossils recovered from the “tar” pits (which are actually filled with liquid asphalt!), and there were a few informational plaques and displays sitting on the windowsill ranging from excavated bugs and microshells to stuffed animals of the animals most commonly found in La Brea. There was also a scientific illustrator on staff (who I assume drew the lovely drawings on some of the plaques) who was actively working on a scientific illustration on their iPad when I was visiting. I especially enjoyed the puppet of the now-deceased mountain lion P-35, as I’d just read about his story in the excellent book “Crossings: How Road Ecology Is Shaping the Future of Our Planet”.

All in all, my visit to the La Brea Tar Pits left me feeling more inspired and motivated than before. While I doubt I’ll pursue scientific illustration as a full-time career, I still want to explore different subject matter I find interesting as much as I can so that my work will be versatile and never grow stale or predictable. And of course, there’s no need to travel far from home to do so — even back in Ann Arbor there’s several resources such as the Natural History Museum, the Leslie Science & Nature Center, and the Creature Conservancy that all have skeletons or live animals on display to see and understand in real life.
That’s all for this week! What would you guys like to see me discuss next week? Let me know!

Industrious Illustrating #39 – Life Drawing 4

At this point all my classes are over, so I want to share more of the life drawings I did in ARTDES 269 during the winter semester. I had a lot of fun and learned a decent amount from taking this course and getting to draw human figures from live models using a variety of traditional media and approaches. I’d definitely recommend this course to any Stamps majors or minors who want to learn more about drawing humans.

Warning for depictions of artistic nudity under the cut:

*Edit 5/11/2023: I fixed the image embed issues with this post!

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Industrious Illustrating #30 – Self Portraits

While most of what I post is related to freelance work, commercial art, illustration, etc., I do also enjoy drawing from observation to learn from and reinterpret what I see around myself. Just as I try to find visual solutions to questions and problems (what would a giant military robot engineered from a construction model look like?) through stylization, I also try to find ways to convey information about the real world in the most efficient and expressive ways possible. Which is to say, for the self-portraits I’ve made for class over the past few weeks, I’ve simplified my features and the shadows on my body down to express what I’m seeing and feeling in the moment, rather than committing a photorealistic representation to paper. The self-portraits are shown below, starting from the earliest to the most recent (drawn last week).


Out of all of these, I like the most recent one the most because it looks the most developed and thoughtfully realized. It also helps that it was at the largest scale (18×24″) and on the nicest drawing paper I own (Strathmore 400 series), whereas the others were at 9×12″ at the largest and drawn on mediocre drawing paper or mixed media sketch paper. The quality of materials really does matter for traditional art, which is both a major annoyance (supply costs add up very, very fast) and an interesting limiting factor (making the most of the given materials is immensely satisfying to me).

While I’ve been pretty busy with schoolwork and making game assets for “Flamechaser” lately (we’re releasing the 0.58 build soon with an expanded story and more complete visuals/animation/sound effects), I’m also going to try to find time to make watercolor and oil paintings again, either stylized or observed from life. Having to draw people from life on a regular basis has reawakened my interest in traditional art, and my improvement over a few weeks of study feels promising for what I could do if I practice my traditional painting skills more.

Industrious Illustrating #27 – Life Drawing 2

This semester I’m enrolled in ARTDES 269, aka Intro to Figure Drawing, meaning that I’m drawing regularly from live models to hone my skills at drawing human proportions and anatomy from observation. This is something I haven’t been practicing as much as I feel I should because I’ve been so caught up in the grind of making game assets and polished illustrations. But now that I have a mandatory biweekly opportunity to draw the human figure from life, I’m working with charcoal and gray pastels again and falling back in love with drawing humans.

Warning for artistic depictions of nudity under the cut: Read More