Darth Sidious
It's not a party til' a Sith Lord shows up. Behind the scenes of my Darth Sidious digital painting.
I felt the power of the Dark Side brewing within my very being, guiding me to paint one of my favorite Star Wars characters...Lord Sidious!
I created this piece in a wide variety of stuff, ranging from Sketchbook Pro and Procreate on the iPad for concepting and color planning, Adobe Collage (sadly discontinued so it is no longer on the App Store), and on my Mac, Sketchbook Pro 6.
The tools I used for the iPad are my favorite stylii: Jot Touch and Pogo Connect and on my Mac, the Wacom Intuous4. For palm rejection, on iPad, I used the Hand Glider glove.
As you can see in the mood board, I looked for photos of Palpatine (coolest old dude, like ever) that showed his dark cunning. However, I wanted to portray him much younger, perhaps in his 30's or early 40's, after he had already obtained much of his knowledge of the Dark Side from his master, Darth Plagueis.
Speaking of Plagueis, I just finished reading the novel, of the same name, last week. Excellent book. It shows the rise of Palpatine, from a youth to the old bastard we all know and love. Force Lightning...that's whats for dinner!
Updating my own stuff: Screamer's Kinda Scary Tales book cover
I'm currently doing some updates on old art, including the cover for my young reader horror book, 'Screamer's Kinda Scary Tales.' Here's a shot of the original cover, which was created using vector graphics. And to the right, the cover in a digital painted version. 
You can see a little of this process featured in my Surface Go review on YouTube. Check it out here:
Clowns, what the f...
I'm at it again guys, working on another clown, albiet another tasty and twisted one. To tell the truth, I'm not really scared of clowns, it's just cool to believe that I am. Chances are good that I'd simply punch one in the neck if it rolled up on me the wrong way lol.
Anyhow, this clown began in my trusty Moleskine sketchbook last year. Every now and again, I look through some of my older artwork and choose one to paint. I used my mechanical pencil and inked him with my Noodler's Ahab fountain pen and ink (see the blog post below this one for the equipment used).
While I was sketching I thought it might be cool, and effed up, to combine a clown with yoga, with a centipede, with me needing more coffee. Tadaa! Next on the blog will be the value painting. Stay tuned. Be sure to use the social media links at the bottom of the page to follow me and my madness;)
The tricky part is establishing the light sources. The eye has to have a focus point and in this case, it's his legs and torso, to really make it hit home that something isn't quite right in the clown's demeanor lol. In my last post I said I wasn't really afraid of clowns. If I saw this mofo slinkin' down the block, oh, I'd run like a....
what I use: fountain pen
There's something special about fountain pens. They provide beautiful lines, offer precise control, and make you feel like you live a few centuries back in time. Ahhh, the good stuff. Well, not really for me. You see, I love my technology too much and would go into a fetal position if something happened to my tablet.
As a matter of fact, I once fell down a small flight of stairs and, while my entire body slammed against the floor, my right arm was in the air, holding my tablet safe from harm. Sick, I know but it sure was funny...except for not being able to breathe for a few minutes. 
I used to use a dip pen, the kind of pen that has a detachable nib, and that you dip into a repository of ink. You know, the kind of joint Mozart used to write music. Problem with those is the potential for mess. I'm a klutz so I used to have ink all over the place.
Fountain pens come with many types of filling systems. My pen, a Noodlers Ahab, uses a piston system. It loads in quickly and keeps everything nice and neat. For it's price, the Ahab is an astounding value, offering performance found in pens far more expensive. 
Because the Ahab features a flex nib, I can easily create fine to thick lines simply by varying how much pressure I apply while drawing. This one pen made it possible to completely put my marker set away. 
Thin and thick lines easily achieved with fountain pens with flex nibs.
So, do yourself a favor if you love the look and feel of ink drawing and check out a fountain pen and a nice bottle of ink. It can rekindle a love of drawing by adding a mix of the past into our high tech world.
what I use: sketchbooks
Like practically every artist on the planet, I rely on a multitude of sketchbooks. I have so many, built up over decades of drawing, messing up, and messing up some more, that I have lost count. You'll notice that I use the 'messing up' a lot in that last sentence, and that's because sketchbooks should serve many purposes: some are for goofing off, experimenting and some are for work you want to exhibit.
When we create, we have to learn to let go and understand that not everything we draw is going to wind up in a museum. Some things we draw will be garbage, so much so that we either scribble the hell out of that page or straight up tear it out, ball it up, and kick it across the room. Or, that could just be me lol.
But, in the never-ending quest to improve, expect to have frustration. But understand that that frustration is a vital part of making yourself better. It can't be forced. Learn to let that drawing go, and start on something else, even switching subject matter or medium. If watercolor is driving you insane, try oil, try marker, let your creativity explore!
This is why I use so many different kinds of sketchbooks. Some of them are low quality paper for experimentation and some, like my Moleskines, are for doing artwork that I intend to share with you guys. Though, let's be honest, even in my best sketchbook, I have pages I really think are horrible.
It's just a part of being a creative person. We have tons of ideas, are stimulated by the wonder of the world and life, and we want to record what inspires us in lead and ink. Always remember that your sketchbooks are not gold, not some precious gem or treasure. They are a tool to help you express yourself, to help you grow creatively. 
Don't judge yourself too harshly when you don't like something you've drawn. Use that feeling to help you look at your art with a critical eye. Evaluate what it is you like and don't like, and how you can improve upon the next sketch.
Artists are notoriously hard on ourselves so learn to think about those little rectangles of paper and binding in a different light. They are your training routine, just like an athlete's. They workout, run, do laps, etc., to better their skills and we do the same on paper.
Visit your local art supplies store and feel many different types of paper. Let the sensation of the paper guide and inspire you. Most of all, let it lead you to the creation of awesome art!
trouble at helm's deep
This piece features a dwarven warrior, and it proved to be more difficult to color than I had anticipated. The culprit: indecisiveness. Sometimes being an artist means we allow ourselves to flood our brains with too many options. For example, should I color this in a comic book style, maybe manga style, maybe realistic style, oil painted style...I think you get it by now. I have yet to meet an artist who hasn't explored a myriad of techniques and styles of art. It is who we are, visual storytellers and sometimes the tools and techniques change, depending on the mood we're trying to convey. Many times the mood changed based on how we ourselves feel. I created some of my best comic book fight scenes while angry lol.
Another thing us artist types get in trouble with is our ability to let everything, and I mean everything, inspire us. Watch the movie 'Aliens' and now we want to draw something sci-fi inspired, watch 'Lord of the Rings' and the next thing ya know, we're painting dragons and um...Dwarf Warriors.
I have always had this problem, primarily when it comes to my own personal work. Granted, there's nothing wrong with having options in regards to tools, style and technique. But we need to reign those impulses in once we decide to finally get to work.
Fortunately, when it comes to deadlines, I have the discipline of a Shaolin priest. Giving yourself a strict timeline to complete a project can go a long way to calm that wandering creative mind and help you complete the task at hand. Let your creativity lead you to awesome art but let the left side of your brain (the logical side) keep you on point so you get more done. 
what yer back
Hello everyone and welcome to this rundown on a current Moleskine to digital painting project, featuring everyone's favorite sometimes funny, sometimes mortifying subject: clowns. Why do so many people have fear of these jolly bringers of mirth and merriment you ask? I think it's because the smile is painted on. Who knows what's really going on in the minds of the makers of balloon animals and drivers of teensy cars.
My solution to this perplexing international quagmire: draw me up some straight twisted nightmares. You’re welcome for the incoming nightmares.
This clown was originally drawn in a smaller Moleskine. I thought it was so insane and deliciously twisted that I redrew it in a brand new large Moleskine sketchbook. I used a mechanical pencil with 0.7 HB lead. I have always preferred a very fine, yet somewhat soft-hard lead, which the HB type leads provide. To ink, I love using my Noodler's Ahab fountain pen with American Eel ink.
American Eel ink lubricates the pen as you draw, helping to keep the flow nice and smooth. I'm interested in trying out some of their other black inks like Heart of Darkness. Come on, how could someone not want to draw with something with a name that cool?
I don't have any idea where I got the idea to draw a clown this horrific. Either I had too much coffee or not enough. You can see some Clive Barker influences in the sketch as well, namely along the Hellraiser line of films.

You may also like

Back to Top