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Paint Sketching

April 19, 2019

In school I didn’t touch painting so now I have to teach myself. I don’t feel too bad about it since that’s what art is. There’s so many parts to learn self teaching is inevitable. I’m starting pretty simply and doing single color master copies. Instead of getting caught up with details I’m concentrating on shape design. In general I feel I could work on more appealing shape language so my pictures are nicely arranged.

These are “Accolade” by Edmond Blair Leighton. “Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee” by Caravaggio. And “Dark Kingdom” and “Huntress” (I think) by Frank Frazetta. I narrowed it down by what I felt like painting and what habits I’d like to pick up. I could’ve took all of these further so I’m glad I used the biggest brushes I could. Fussing with details would have defeated the purpose and took away the simple appeal of the basic shapes.

Paint sketches


My Graphic Novel

July 21, 2018

draft shot 2


I mostly finished the script for my comic. Next up is concept art for it. I’m going to take a look at character designs, environments, props, and the overall look. I don’t have a set plan right now for the style of it. I just know it’s going to be an immersive steampunk styled world and I won’t have info dumps so the visuals will have to do a lot of heavy lifting for the world building. My draft has notes of some things concerning the backgrounds and characters’ reactions so I can’t wait to see where it goes from here. Anyway, now isn’t the time to rest my laurels, this is only step 1 out of 3 to having a complete comic. So I have lots of work still to do.


Coloring Skin

February 9, 2018

I cracked open my toned sketchbook today. I’m frugal with using it because I don’t want to draw things that work just fine on white paper. I like to make the most of drawing on brown paper.

Coloring the boy on the left was supposed to be a low-key warm up while my sister recorded a voice over for our Youtube video. There were a few things I wasn’t happy with and wanted to improve upon. Mainly I wanted to integrate the shadows with the main skin color.  The transition between the midtown and the core shadow is very strong, which is fine, but I could have shown a little restraint. I also wanted to avoid the trap of not showing enough shadows. Even though I’m coloring very light skin, they still need to have anatomical form.

The drawings of the girls show more build up between the the midtown and shadow. Also I went little easier on the ultramarine in the shadows for the lower half of the face. It’s realistic to have areas of blue shadow but it I should build up slower. I added the warms of their cheeks and cools under their eyes and in the shadows then values. In all medium I’ve been trying out different order and that always turns out the best. Color temperature isn’t an after thought and can be used to show form, especially in areas with low contrast. The first two were inked and then colored, the last girl was colored first. I’m going to use that light of a hand when I ink more often because it looks less cartoony and supports the shadows better. My new rule of thumb is to ink before I think I’m done. I’m going to do more drawings trying these out.


November 30, 2017

The painting is named after the idea of chasing fireflies on a summer night. In this case these are tiny drones instead. The character follows one and is led into an old garden with two more it’s counterparts. She doesn’t know who directs them and what their intentions is. I imagined this to be the start of an adventure.  “Fireflies” is an acrylic wash and ink. You can watch me ink the background foliage in this video.


“Fireflies,” Ink and Acrylic Wash, 2017

Master Copies

November 9, 2017
Master Copies

Bouguereau Studies

A couple of times of week I draw something academic to keep my skills sharp. As a refresher I made a couple of Bougeureau master copies. Each one was 30 minutes long. I’ve also been working my way through “Constructive Anatomy” by George Bridgeman. I’ve been staying on heads and faces for the last month.

Bridgeman 1

Studies from “Constructive Anatomy”

I’ve been drawing faces for years but every time I sit down to study I discover something new. It’s the subtle forms in faces that add more 3 dimensional form and take the drawing up another level. I like to study from artists whose work has qualities I admire. While I’m study facial construction from the Bridgeman’s book, I study classical artists for context. Drawing face planes is useful but I don’t want to lose the subtlety of a real human portrait. During these study sessions, I also draw from photos, life, and memory just to make sure I’m learning it.

Bridgeman 2

Drawings based off the Bridgeman method

Props and Backgrounds

November 2, 2017

I started out drawing characters with minimal or no background. When I was younger, I thought backgrounds where boring and tedious. I wanted to get to the fun part, drawing people. However in the past few years I’ve come to appreciate the narrative potential of backgrounds. The environment communicates so much about a painting. It adds a lot to give characters a thought out world to live in.

Environments are almost characters themselves. Using shapes, details, designs to reinforce the story. Not everything fits on a character so the backgrounds adds more room for exposition. Background props function as accessories, just like a character’s clothes and body language. Lately, I’ve been drawing studies a few times a week. Usually I draw objects relating to the projects for the day. Sometimes pictures of objects, sometimes things I have laying around the house. It helps add to my visual library and puts me in right frame of mind for work.  Making drawings of small objects sounds boring, but I can brush up on fundamentals in a way that’s relevant to finished work. In the end it also helps me to create less generic backgrounds.

background 2

Inktober 2017 Followup

October 26, 2017


Inktober 2017

Ink drawings by Taisa Willoughby

A few weeks ago I drummed up a lot of excitement for Inktober. Well, October is mostly done and I’ve been updating at Jaunty Cat Art on Instagram.

I’ve been loosely following the official prompt to create a narrative. Every drawing feels like making a panel of a comic. I sometimes layout all my Inktober drawings next to each other and it looks like a storyboard. A fully complete story can be made from them all and I make sure there is some thread of continuity between them. For example in the first two drawings, the sky is visible but I make sure all other environments are underground. Incidentally, October splits into almost perfect thirds so I’m working out a three act structure. Perfect for creating a story most people would recognize; that’s how most media tells stories. This year I am working on my ability to pay attention to small narrative details.


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