1000 Heads: the book

1000 heads, my illustration book

Inspiring books for the creative type


Tea time

Some herbal tea freshly brewed & served for this week’s Illustration Friday theme. You may click any of these variations to see a bigger sample. If you want the recipe for this special tea, just tell me ;-)


The choir boy sings his song

Although I have quite a few drawings related to music in my portfolio, this is my take on this week’s Illustraton Friday “song” theme: a rather simple figure. This particular image is a vector drawing, after suffering a moderate aggresion justified by artistic purpose. You can see a bigger version: just click the image to see more details of the texture.

One recommendation: use the larger version as a wallpaper, centered, with black background. It looks great!


An homage to Yellow Submarine imagery

Not To Scale is a London based production company specialising in creating; 2D and 3D. In their website, search Directors > Steve Scott and watch the video clip for Telemetry Orchestra, Suburban Harmony. Scott is well described as ”an unlimited source of eccentric worlds and left-field ideas.”

The video clip in question is a fascinating piece of animation in Flash and a very clever homage to the old favourite, the Yellow Submarine feature film, with all their characters and backgrounds designed by Heinz Edelmann. The original movie is full of delicious watercolour backgrounds, and it provides an overdose of colour and imagination to maker a dark winter day a brighter experience.

A mini-tutorial to save streaming Flash:

This clip is streaming Flash and you cannot save it directly to your computer, even if you use (like I do) the handy Page Info panel in Firefox or Mozilla. But there’s an easy workaround:

  1. Load the page with the streaming animation in Internet Explorer (this is probably the only time that I bother to use it).

  2. Now wait until the Flash animation has completely downloaded, and its stream has finished.

  3. Go to the Tools menu, then choose Internet Options. Here you will find the Temporary Internet Files section. Click the Configuration button, then the See files... button and you will find the SWF file you just have downloaded (sort the files by date so it appears on the top part of the list.) Drag-copy it to a folder of your choice and there you have it: a streaming file nicely available for you to enjoy when you're offline.

There are several utilities to automate this process more or less, but I think this procedure is quite simple and you really don’t need to clutter your computer with more unnecessary applications.


Carlos Fonseca’s watercolors

Carlos says that “atualmente estou me dedicando quase exclusivamente a aquarela”. If my portuguese skills aren’t failing this means he is creating almost exclusively in watercolors, lately. And—wow. Excellent examples of the use of watercolors to sketch outdoors. Some of the pictures of gardens almost let you feel the coolness of the shades of trees, and the smell of wet soil, even with the economy of washes that the best paintings in watercolor have.

Visit his website and enjoy his gallery!

Large watercolors using acrylics

Sometimes I have commented the other ways of achieving a watercolour-like effect with other techniques, either digital or traditional-material.

There is an interesting and long article by Nicholas_Simmons Painting Large In Watercolor: Faded Glory in Wetcanvas (an artistic portal which I will comment on with more detail some day), which explains a technique to use acrylics, watercolor-style (acrylic paint thinned with water, or watercolor mixed with acrylic medium). The close-up photos are really nice.

The arts notebook

Notebook is a terrific resource to everything related to Visual Arts.
The site offers some excerpts and even complete texts from classic books on fine arts, and a good selection of links.


GTDrawings is ready

I started a parallel mini-blog called GTDrawings to show my visual interpretations of the well-known productivity & personal organisation book by David Allen, Getting Things Done. Now it is complete with the sketches I made about the text. The only additional stuff I will be posting will be, perhaps, some more polished illustration.
one of the images in gtdrawings


This was supposed to be simple, wasn’t it?
Well, here we are illustrating the “simple” theme of the week at Illustration Friday. The base image is taken from my Bizarries II dingbat, available from Typephases Design.

GTDrawings is ready

I started a parallel mini-blog called GTDrawings to show my visual interpretations of the well-known productivity & personal organisation book by David Allen, Getting Things Done. Now it is complete with the sketches I made about the text. The only additional stuff I will be posting will be, perhaps, some more polished illustration.
one of the images in gtdrawings
Don’t miss it out if you’re interested in taking control of your life and getting organised!


Another chair

Another chair, theme of the week at Illustration Friday. This one is an experiment with Expression (now Microsoft Acrylic), a program I definitely want to use more because it’s really outstanding for creative vector artwork.

This is quite simple and I made it with the mouse—not the ideal way to draw.

You can click the image to see a bigger version.


Building Stories by Chris Ware

Do you enjoy Chris Ware comics and illustrations? Of course, we do! And there is something online at the The Funny Pages from The New York Times Magazine that you should check out: the ongoing series Building Stories where the one and only Ware shows his talent with prodigality.

The series is available in PDF format, so you can examine the details of Mr. Ware artwork.


Chair (Illustration Friday)

This week’s theme at Illustration Friday is “chair” and this is what I’ve come up with. I was thinking a bit about electric chairs, chairs upside down, chairs full of stuff but finally I doodled this one.

I use this kind of drawing to experiment different techniques. I just have made a quick pencil drawing, then scanned it at 100dpi, traced it in Inkscape and finally had some fun adding colour and texture in The Gimp.

You can click the image to see a bigger version.

I want to live in this house

I admit it. I’m hopelessly addicted to Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. This Craig McCracken production catched my eye immediately for many reasons. First, being full of imaginary characters, the animators and designers have have been able to take an unlimited number of creative paths. The backgrounds are awesome, with the big victorian house and exquisite care with colours. And so on: too many good things to mention, IMHO. There is a wide variety of influences in the graphic style of the series, ranging from Psychedelic to retro-fifties style. I really enjoy every second of each episode and if you are even remotely like-minded as me, you’ll do the same —if you haven’t discovered the world of Foster’s yet.

From a technical point of view, the show is also remarkable because it has been produced entirely digital tools: a combination of Adobe Illustrator, Flash and After Effects. There is an interesting thread on the Animation World Network forum where many technical details about the production are revealed. The thread is quite long, but if you are interested on the technical side of creating this superb show you’ll find very relevant comments. The use of vector animation on this series is groundbreaking and very, very good.

Besides the official show page in Cartoon Network, you may also find it interesting to read a Craig McCracken interview about Foster’s, and the unnofficial fan site.

A wonderful online library about animation and drawing

The folks atAnimation Meat have put together a wonderful resource for learning cartoon drawing and animation techniques.

Look in the “notes” section: in this area you will find animation notes from various artists and various studios in "print ready" format (PDF.) It includes drawing class notes from the drawing instructor for Walt Disney Studios Walt Stanchfield (nearly 60 handouts); Helpful information for doing full feature quality traditional animation; and more. A ton of materials to study, practice and enjoy.


In-depth articles about digital image editing

For those who feel the most powerful image editing tools, such as histograms, levels, curves and other arcane features of your photo-editing program are too intimidating to care about, there’s an excellent, in-depth article at Arstechnica, called Editing your digital images without the mystery. The article continues with other recommended parts, such as Retouching techniques 101 and Compositing.


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