Tagged: design.

Hey, I want to be a good artist and have 'doodled' for many years, but I can't find my style and constantly think my work sucks... I have no style, how can I find it?

Check out our entire 'Style' tag, which gives some advice about style.

But in short, developing a style is the last thing you should worry about. Learn the foundations and develop you skills.


10:47 am, question from Anonymous, answered by pencilcat 10  |  Comments

Hi, I'm hoping you could help me when it comes to adding color to my art work. If it's Digital, Pastels, Painting (Water Color or Acrylic) It always come out muddy. I don't know what to do. I can't tell if it's because I don't plan my colors ahead or not, and if that's the case I don't know where to start. Please help, Thank you~

There are a few things you could be doing that makes colors appear ‘muddy’ or not working.

-Too many colors. Especially with traditional materials, mixing too many colors will create a chaotic muddy look.

-Blending the wrong colors together. Certain colors mixed together will instantly create neutral shades, and may not be what you want.

-Shading with blacks and whites will desaturate your colors.

What you can do is try limiting your color palette to a few select colors to start out. Also, try reading up on color theory, so you’ll have a better understand how of colors work together :>


09:44 pm, question from hamsterfox, answered by pencilcat 8  |  Comments




Got some spare time? Make a comic!

Download the sample printable comic right here!

Hey internet, wanna try something silly? If you’re near a printer, and going to NYCC, you can print out a bunch of these and leave them at Comic-Con. It’s just a little something that helps demystify the whole comic making process.

This isn’t exactly self promotion, I don’t care to see my name or site on any of these. I’m just putting it out there, that making your own zine is really, really, really simple. And you can start as tiny as multiplying one page into eight. And one post into thousands.

^Very useful!^ :D

04:00 am, reblogged  by pencilcat 26078  |

Traditional Color Wheel and Color Mixer for artists in Photoshop

Traditional Color Wheel and Color Mixer panels in Photoshop

Hello, guys! Here are my creations to improve your workflow. Please feel free to post your needs, suggestions or questions about it
Traditional Color Wheel and Color Mixer in Photoshop CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6

submitted by: photoshoppanels

11:55 am, by photoshoppanels 56  |  Comments

Design Responsibility


Just thinking lately how much power you have as an artist working in any kind of visual communication field, and how we’re taught to distort the public eye from the very beginning.

Many times when I was in my classes I’d get critique back that this character or that character shouldn’t look like this, wear that, or what have you because “it isn’t a good design choice.”  That’s why you can look at a toy line and all the dolls have blue, green or purple eyes.  Not a brown eye among them.  Why?  “Because those blue eyes will really pop with that dark skin!”  So every little brown eyed girl that looks for someone that looks like her, or looks like her mother finds nothing.  As a kid it used to depress me.  It made me feel ugly.  I wasn’t what was wanted.  I keep that in mind when I design characters- especially since I work on children’s games.

We’ve got these weird cultural ideas in the States about what certain archetypes look like and we constantly reinforce them under the guise of “good design.”  Look, the femme fatal doesn’t have to have bright red, platinum blonde, or jet black hair… or voluptuous at all.   And the girl next door doesn’t have to be white. 

I remember I had to make a sample wedding page for my work.  I used, with permission, photos of my brother and his wife.  My brother is a really big korean guy and his wife is a teeny tiny white woman.  The photos are really great.  They are both extremely photogenic, attractive people.  I put the design in my portfolio.  My design teacher looked at the photos and yelled out, “Who ARE these PEOPLE?”  He wanted to reject them based on the fact that they’re a mixed marriage.  He back peddled when I told him they’re family.  They’re a real couple.  They’re real people.  Real people are not formulaic. If your design theory goes so far as to dip into being racist, I don’t want anything to do with it. 

my job at the time, who’s business the page was actually made for, totally loved the webpage.  My boss was a hispanic woman with her doctorate in anthropology and her husband was an indian man with a doctorate in science… I’m not sure what exactly in or how many doctorates he held, I have a feeling there were several. 

I hate that we’re asked as designers to white wash everything we make.  We control the horizontal, we control the vertical.  We should be using that power responsibly, not hurting and alienating the people we’re selling to.

You know what’s good design?  Curved lines vs straight lines.  Contrapposto.  Asymmetrical costumes. 

Not propagating stereotypes.

(Source: robotsandfrippary)

06:27 pm, reblogged  by pencilcat 2312  |


Today I gave my students a quick presentation on some of the basic considerations for composition, which I am now sharing with you! I’ve given them separate talks about color and tonal value/contrast, which are also super important compositional concerns. (I’ll be sharing those presentations too once I properly format them)

I personally love learning about different compositional techniques. It’s fun to think about the ways that the brain views & sorts images, and how we can trick it into feeling a certain way or looking at certain aspects of an image first! It’s easy to fall into compositional ruts (which I am also guilty of) because a lot of art gets by with mediocre, though serviceable, compositions. If you can generally understand what’s happening in an image then it’s generally fine. However, it’s the truly great compositions, where everything in the whole image has been considered and ‘clicks’ together, that bump up an illustration to a visual slam dunk. NC Wyeth is one of my favorite artists for this reason: his compositions are rock solid, varied based on the image’s intent, and always enhance the mood or action he is depicting.

For extra reading, some online compositional resources that I’ve found helpful or interesting include:
Creative Illustration by Andrew Loomis (download it for FREE. Such a great book all-around.)
Gurney Journey (check out the “Composition” tag, but really everything he posts is great)
The Schweitzer guide to spotting tangents
Cinemosaic (a blog by Lou Romano with some truly WONDERFUL compositions captured from various films)
Where to Put the Cow by Anita Griffin

Happy composition-ing!

04:00 pm, reblogged  by pencilcat 37156  |

so i'm currently trying to learn perspective, but all the drawings i make of blocks, boxes, etc. are always looking distorted/warped. is there any tutorial or something that could help me with this?

It sounds like you have your vanishing points too close together, which causes the warped look. A good rule of thumb is to atleast have one vanishing point out of the field of view (the picture). 

There are tons of perspective books cheap that I highly recommend reading, but you can start out with Fox-orian’s tutorial.


10:08 pm, question from Anonymous, answered by pencilcat 18  |  Comments


Adding character diversity: Body type

Unique Features Tutorial Pt 1 by jeinu

Tips on how to draw not so cookie cutter characters! Change body type and shape, showing off natural differences in build that happen in real life! Not everyone is built the same!

Pt 2 and 3 will follow but check it out on the original posting on the artist’s deviant!

  09:30 am, reblogged  by pencilcat 17241  |

I want to draw some dolls but how can you draw so that someone can differentiate a doll from what could be mistaken as just a weird looking girl

Hmmm, well typically dolls are stiff, so make the posture similar (straight back, neck straight, arms bent at 90degrees etc.) Possibly show that it’s a doll by drawing joints/seams that a human wouldn’t have.


07:58 pm, question from justin-bieber-swaggyy-deactivat, answered by pencilcat 2  |  Comments

Hello! (First I must say that this is a very good idea for a blog, and I really appreciate what you're doing here.) However, I have a problem. I am attempting to start a webcomic with a detailed world, and while I have the setting laid out in my head, I find it impossible to fit good perspective into such very small panels, considering how far apart the vanishing points often have to be. Do you have any ideas on how to make background drawing in comics easier?

Detailed backgrounds in comic panels can be tricky, but there are a few things you can do.

  • If drawing traditionally, try drawing on 11”x17” paper, which is actually standard industry size. 
  • Or, draw your backgrounds larger, then using a copy/scanner shrink them down to fit into your panels.
  • Draw the perspective grids on a computer, and print them out for you to trace/light box into your panels. Additionally, there are some premade perspective grids you can download off the web.
  • Draw the thumbnails digitally, print them out and pencil/ink on paper.

Also, keep in mind - do the tiny panels need to show that much detail? Too many details in the background in small panels can the page look too busy and hard to see.

Hope this helps! :)


11:05 am, question from madamecat-deactivated20140311, answered by pencilcat 10  |  Comments


For both of you I would say to get on Google and do some researching. It’ll definitely help you for finding bug/Celtic reference images and info.

For the bug humanoid - I would say to pick from bug features you like and play around with shapes and proportions. You want it to blend in with the humanistic qualities with the character. You may want to look at some sci-fi creature designs for inspiration and ideas.

For the Celtic character - I can’t really tell you how to make a likable character. Just make them believable and relatable the best you can. And like I said before, just do a bunch of Googling to get the credibility in your designs and story.

Also, for pose references:

Hope that helps!

  12:11 pm, reblogged  by jedipanda 76  |

One of the artists of Catan World talks about the design process he used to create the in-game art. -via Massively Fun

  05:19 pm, by jedipanda 20  |  Comments


Hi Cailiin! Thanks for such a great question! :D

In the most general sense, a storyboard artist’s job is to translate a script into images. You’ve probably seen boards for movies before: they show all the important beats of the story and help the crew visualize where to put the camera as well as how to handle complex shots. In that sense, storyboards are a planning tool.

In animation, boards are pretty darn important because you don’t have a set or actors or even a real camera, so boards are the place where you figure out your staging and how your characters act out their lines. Since animation is necessarily a collaborative effort, boards are reeeeally really helpful to make sure all animators are working from the same plan.

Before I go any further, I should point out: the animators who work from these boards are often in places like Korea and Japan. Like every other industry, animation was outsourced during the nineties.The pre-production work (primarily design and storyboards) stayed in the US, and the hard work of actually making that stuff move was exported to foreign countries. As a result, storyboards for animation have become fantastically complicated, because they have to detail every single movement — you don’t want to leave some poor animator in Korea scratching his head about how the US studio wants a character to get from point A to point B. The goal is to leave nothing up to chance.

This is the real work of storyboards for animation. How that work manifests depends on the production you’re working on; my experience is in primetime comedy (Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers) but there’s also action adventure, feature, kids’, and miscellaneous others. (Incidentally, I know there are some artists from each of those genres here on Tumblr, so maybe they’ll chime in with their experiences. :D) The bulk of the work in primetime comedy goes into acting, which makes sense because these shows are so writing-driven. There’s a lot of work put into posing out (breaking down) facial expressions and actions for each line. I don’t have any FG or BB boards handy, but here are some homework boards I did for a class at Concept Design Academy (a Seinfeld episode translated into storyboards … with Avatar characters, lol):

It’s worth noting that these boards wouldn’t fly on FG because a) they’re not clean enough (too sketchy, and I was too hurried to matte in white behind the character lines :F) and not on model (FG boards are more on model than any other show I’ve ever worked on, which isn’t surprising given that 90% of the time the characters are in 3/4s perspective) and b) they aren’t posed out enough (and the expressions are too subtle). But this at least should give you an idea how much each action is broken down. (This is maybe … two or three lines? Last week I did fifty pages of boards — so 100 panels — for about a page and a half of dialogue.) Here’s another example of posing out something very simple:

(Note on that first panel: the shows I’ve worked on say nodding is verboten. It’s hard to animate well. But if I was doing a nod now, I’d break that further down into up and down poses.)

Besides drawing, there’s also a lot of nitty gritty stuff that’s part of the job. The little arrows and camera notes are all there to help make your intent absolutely excruciatingly clear to the animator (who may not speak English). They’re also important because it’s sometimes hard to pick up on subtle movements from frame to frame. For instance, in FG, we do a lot of small head tilts that are very hard to detect if you’re looking at a printout. Fortunately, you have a special area for the nitty gritty:

Action notes! Action notes are a written description of what’s going on in the panel, usually in the simplest, most direct words you can use. Action notes can be a) bits of the script b) camera movements (for instance: “cam adj with movement” for when you want the camera to follow a character as they walk) c) literal notes about each action like above or d) cycling instructions (for instance, you might say “cycle this panel with next” if you’re showing a character’s shoulders/head moving up and down for laughter). Dial is pretty straightforward — whatever’s being said for that panel. And Slg (slugging) is something I just don’t touch. It is a mystery etc etc. The last important job duty of a storyboard artist is that of continuity checker:

You can see that Katara and Sokka are in the same poses from panel 7 to panel 1. (Sokka has actually turned his head slightly; if I was doing this today, I’d add one more pose before panel 1 — notated as a start pose — where he’s still looking up.) This is called a hook up, and it’s a big big thing to keep track of, especially in more actiony-type scenes where you’re cutting on action. It may not seem like a big deal, just remembering to pick up where you left off (so to speak), but hook ups can become a headache when you’re dealing with inevitable rewrites. My job as a revisionist is a lot of figuring out how to stitch scenes back together when bits and pieces have been cut/moved/rewritten.

Anyway, I think that’s enough rambling for one day. I hope that sheds a little light into what storyboarding for animation is like!


06:36 pm, reblogged  by pencilcat 449  |