Happy 2015 from FiddzyDesign!
December was a bit of a break month, firstly I took a break from the character drawings that dominated November and secondly I took a break from the daily drawing challenges to concentrate on an extremely busy holiday season. As such the number of drawings done this December have not been as plentiful, however I would argue that most of them have been some of my all time best. A true case of quality over quantity.
The above three bright red sketches all came from a week in mid December where I decided to try out a slightly different style and inject a bit of bright festive colour into my somewhat monochrome sketch collection. It was originally going to be a one off with the capybara sketch, however I liked the end result so much that I continued it a drew the other two. I liked these sketches so much that I couldn’t decide on a favourite and as such decided to add all three to this months top four. However if I was absolutely forced to the final sketch of the desert hare would be the all time winner.
Allot of my sketches in December took the Lunch Break Challenge (even if they where all drawn after dinner) back to its roots and focused on animal anatomy studies, particularly mammals. Out of all of them, including the red collection above, these anatomy studies of rabbits is my favourite, in fact it may be my favourite drawing from the entire challenge so far. While scaling is still an issue I feel that this sketch best captures the work I’ve done looking into mammalian physiology and fur structure. Plus its of some rabbits, which are one of my favourite animals to draw!
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November was a change of pace month. After spending the first four months of this challenge drawing primarily animal studies, and after coming out of October which contained quite a few sketches I’d sooner forget, I decided that I’ll spend a month away from the wildlife and instead concentrate on a bit of self indulgence sketching of some of my favourite fictional characters. Like normal I’ve included allot more than my top four, however two of these where drawn specifically to be included within the sets they are shown in below.
Following on directly from where I left off in October, my first batch of sketches once again looked the Naruto Team 8 characters of Kiba Inuzuka, Shino Aburame and Hinata Hyūga (who I left out last time due to her drawing having far too many mistakes). However this time I’ve attempted to draw their older Shippuden portrayals and am personally really pleased with the results, considering them my best Anime/Manga drawings to date. However I still feel that Hinata is the weakest of the three and as such I will be focusing on learning to accurately draw female characters allot more in the future, as for me drawing woman is a far greater challenge than drawing men for some reason.
(Here comes some ego rubbing) While it may not be 100% perfect I will admit that I am very proud of this Groot speed sketch. I absolutely love this character and his design and sketching him here was an absolute pleasure. This image also holds a special place because not only did it kick start this months trend of adding in small splashes of colour into each sketch but It also managed to smash (and still maintain at the time of posting) my Instagram “Like” record, a record coincidently held by my raccoon studies from way back in August. However it was not all smiles and sparkly pollen, I did attempt to post this sketch along with a drawing of baby Groot and Rocket Raccoon, however both sketches encountered issues giving me a firm reminder that there’s still lots to learn and ways to improve.
My final themed drawing set of the month was of these three Godzilla sketches, with each Godzilla representing one of his designs from the original three film era’s the Showa, Heisei and Millennium era’s. They where not intended to be colour studies, as such the little hints of colour where just their to help make them standout and have a bit more life in them. I quite enjoyed drawing these three as it allowed me to continue my character month theme whilst also incorporating a touch of animal/beast.
Speaking of animals this final sketch of a red panda was my only non fictional character illustration of the month and actually one of my all time favourites. Done as a bonus experimental piece one weekend this panda, drawn with ball point pens and office highlighters, is one of my first true colour studies done as part of this Lunch Break challenge and is another piece I really enjoyed drawing. It has also set the standard for next month where I once again intend to primarily look at animal anatomy studies.
To stay up-to-date will all daily sketches and project progression please follow FiddzyDesign via the links below.
October’s outcome was remarkably similar to last months sketch collection, in that it had no true theme, I struggled to balance drawing time with other obligations and that it ended with a mass of anime character studies. However despite all of this much like September I can look back and be extremely proud with much of what I was able to achieve. The reason for this is that although there was no overruling theme to my daily drawings, when I look back I can see that one did unconsciously emerge, and that was the theme of “new”.
When I say that “new” was the keyword of the month, what I mean is that the subjects I happened to choose to draw (offend on a whim based on my mood), where of creatures or characters I’ve never drawn before, or atleast attempted to draw in awhile. I had noticed that when deciding upon animals to draw for these daily sketches all of my subject species have been either mammals (my comfort zone) or birds (my favourite of the animal kingdoms), as such I decided to kick start October with a weeks worth of reptile studies, specifically lizards. My aim was to draw them fast and loose, learning how to capture their form and textures without going overkill on individual details of each and every scale. After a weeks worth of sketching I am rather pleased with the results, to the point of choosing the two above as the first half of this months top four. However it is an area that I can still improve upon greatly.
Even though I did just state that mammals are my comfort zone when it comes to drawing, there are still many mammals that I have never been comfortable drawing, atleast from memory, and as such these became the next area of focus. One of these mammals are dogs, something I have always sucked at drawings (maybe because I’am a cat person?), and as such typically tend to avoid, as such I decided to spend some time this month looking at the original dog, the wolf. Like the lizards above I am very pleased with the results, however much worked is still needed if I want to draw them from memory and incorporate their features into future creature designs, the whole reason I am doing these daily lunch break sketches.
October Sketch 04 & 05 – Kiba & Shino
I know I’m breaking my top four rule again this month by including a fifth image, however these two anime sketches where supposed to form a set of three depicting the three members of team 8 from Naruto. Of course as you can see there’s only two and that’s because I absolutely hated my drawing of Hinata due to some irreversible mistakes (I use ballpoint pens for the linework), and as such it got thrown away. Regardless of the loss of Hinata (who I promise to retry again in November), I was still very proud of my Kiba and Shino so I decided to include them anyways. Why are these “new”? Well even though last month included a bunch of Fairy Tail character portraits overall anime/manga drawing is still very new to me and remains a focus of mine as I continue to practice drawing human anatomy. Shino and the failed Hinata where also my first ever attempts at drawing these characters, and as such “new”.
To stay up-to-date will all daily sketches and project progression please follow FiddzyDesign via the links below.
Here we go month number three and these weekday sketches are now fully apart of my daily life, even on my laziest of days! However despite saying that I did miss another three days this month, one thanks to an injury, one to work and the third due to a worrying case of drawers block, where I seemed to struggle to draw anything to a quality I would deem uploadable. But regardless of them three unfortunate days I do feel like I’ve had a really good month. Despite that one day of drawing amnesia I feel like almost all of the drawing I did this month has been of an improved standard to the norm, hopefully as an indication that this “lunch break challenge” is doing its job and helping to improve my illustration skills.
Unlike last month where I primarily looked at fur and mammalian form, this month did not have a set goal, but rather lots of weekly themed sketching bundles instead.
While Septembers batch of drawings did not have an overriding theme, this study of two rats dose follow directly on from August’s theme of mammalian anatomy, where I tried to take what I had learnt from August and use on a series of rodent sketches. These two rats where the final in that series of sketches and by far my favourite of the bunch. While I am not overly proud of the close up of the rats face, I do quite like the full body piece as I feel this best reflects my new-found understanding of how to sketch fur and its form.
These next two drawings (here merged into one) was from a week where I found myself obsessed with drawing Pelicans for no particular reason aside from the fact that I was getting bored of drawing furry mammals. What I like about these sketches is the simple application of colour, done here with some highlighter pens I found stashed in a draw at work (with permission of course). This series of sketches was also a good refresh in practising how to draw birds in flight, one of the ultimate tasks I one day hope to master.
Finally during the final week of this month I decided to break away from the animal anatomy studies and instead start to look at improving my human anatomy understandings, in particular faces. However rather than rush straight into drawing realistic human faces, a subject I’ve never been particularly good at, I instead decided to give anime another crack. The anime I decided to look at for practice was my new favourite series Fairy Tail (Sorry Naruto you got trumped) and since I could not decide which one to pick for this blog post here’s my favourite four out of six (one got ruined when I attempted to colour it in… badly). One noticeable character above is Juvia who was the first female anime character I’ve ever attempted to draw.
Month number two into my “Lunch Break Challenge” and I’m still going strong, although I regrettably lost two days this month due to higher priority obligations. However despite that minor set back I still felt that August was an extremely strong month for me, particularly in terms of progression. Unlike July, where I was mostly drawing subjects on a whim, this month was far more structured. My aim across August was to really get to grips with mammalian form, particularly in regards to drawing hair, which minus a couple of fan art sketches was a recurring focus across all of this months sketches. Below are my top four sketches from Augusts furry collection…
Following on from the ungulate sketches I was doing towards the end of July was a two day stint of drawing highland cattle. The sketch above was my second attempt after I deemed the first one to be a catastrophic failure due to various anatomy scaling issues. This second attempt however turned out to be a vast improvement although still far from perfect itself. It was this sketch which would lead to my goal of focusing on studying how to effectively draw the form of hair over an animals muscular anatomy, and to look in further detail at what relationship hair and body has when dealing with an animals form.
Wishing to move away from drawing farmyard animals and inspired by the Rocket Raccoon character from the (awesome!) film Guardians of the Galaxy, I decided to look at the facial anatomies of raccoons. For these speed sketches I particularly focused on how their hair gives raccoons their iconic triangular shape and masked eyes. I also wanted to focus on their whiskers, an important part of many mammals anatomies that I had always tended to leave out in the past out of fear it would “detract from” their form, rather than enhance it.
In an attempt to challenge myself, and to move away from my comfort zones I decided to draw an animal I’ve never attempted before, the porcupine. I felt that the porcupine was a great example of a animal that uses hair, and quills in this instance, to expand is overall form away from its actual body, where you need to focus on the structure of these instead of its musculature in order to capture the true form of the animal.
The Hedgehog felt like the next logical step to follow on from the porcupine, and has been a target animal of mine to draw ever since setting myself these daily challenges. For some reason the hedgehog has always been an animal I’ve struggled to draw, especially from memory. While I am very happy with these attempts I still don’t quite grasp how to truly draw their anatomy and as such its an animal I will continue to look at into September.
Phew, my first month of “lunch break” sketches is complete, even if they weren’t all strictly timed to be done at lunch, although atleast I did manage to hit my quota of drawing one every Monday to Friday. I really enjoyed doing these and is definitely something I shall continue to do over the coming months. July’s sketches where a real mixed bag, with no overall theme. Lots of animal anatomy studies, most focusing on a mix of farmyard animals and birds, in particular Ostrich’s and similarly structured species. In addition I broke these studies up with a bunch of fan art sketches as I continually try and learn to draw in an anime/manga style. Looking back over the last month there are lots of sketches I am extremely happy with, so here I thought I’d upload four of my favourites and my thoughts concerning them…
Starting off the second week of sketches was this, my first fan art piece of the challenge. This character study is of Eren Jaeger in his Titan shifter form, the main protagonist from the amazing anime series Attack on Titan (COME ON SEASON TWO!). While it may not be a perfect representation of the character, with a couple of scaling issues, what I do really like about it was that it was my first attempt at merging ballpoint pen linework with pencil shading. I personally think these two mediums work really well in conjunction, with the pen highlighting the form and shape against the subtle pencil shading, which can often become lost and overcomplicated when drawn entirely in pen.
This sketch was done as part of the randomly themed Ostrich and llama week, and as the name suggests it details sketches of Ostrich anatomy studies, focusing particularly on their legs and feet. I wanted to focus on the legs as it was an area I was struggling to get right in a previous days drawing, and if I could get the understandings correct here I could apply it to future creature designs and even Dinosaur sketches.
I really like these Cassowary sketches as I was able to shade and colour them using nothing but basic office stationary; black, blue and red ballpoint pens, a pencil and a yellow highlighter. What I also liked was the realisation of how reptilian and Dinosaur like birds truly are, particularly when they have bald heads and bony crests like these. This sketch also sparked the inspiration for a brand new creature design, which I have begun work on.
One of the very last sketches I did this month is one of my very favourites, some anatomy studies of sheep, particularly rare breeds of sheep. My aim for this piece was to get not only a better anatomy understanding of both sheep and ungulates in general, but also to focus on their wool and how it coats their bodies creating their form. I feel that this, along with the Cassowary’s above are my two strongest animal anatomy studies from July.
Looking ahead into August I’ll be concentrating on allot more animal anatomy studies as that is an area I really wish to improve upon. However I will also begin to look at the human form, both through real world observation and through the anime/manga drawing style.
Greetings, Since designing the Snow Calcibus and explaining upon the Calcibus mythologies this site has regrettably remained update free over the past three months. However this lack of original content has partly been due to an expansion in my use of Twitter as a means of image sharing. During this three month lull, I have been using my time to focus on improving my basic drawing skills as well as continue to develop upon my sideline writing project. In this time I have been primarily focusing on mastering the anatomies of the many animals that I have always seemed to struggle at drawing (looking at you the ungulates) and its my goal to continue to develop these skills until I can get them embedded within my drawing memory. In addition I have also been attempting to accurately draw Anime characters (exclusively Naruto at the moment) as a starting point to help develop my human anatomy understandings, particularly faces and characterisation. Twitter has become a great easy access tool for sharing these sketches, especially as most of them have occurred during my lunch breaks at work.
To help further my development I have decided to turn these random sketch hours into a consistent trend. So starting from tomorrow I am beginning my “One Hour Lunch Break Challenge”, in which every week day (where possible) it is my aim to put aside an hour and use it to sketch (I say at lunch but doubt it always will be). At first I will continue to hone my anatomy skills, on top of some occasional fan art, before I once again begin developing genuine new content (still got a back catalogue of concepts building up).
Below is an example of one of my most recent lunch break sketches. Unlike the normal pencil sketches that I upload onto this blog, these have both been drawn in Biro, my preferred speed-sketching medium. What I like about using pen over pencil in these situations is that when I make a mistake (which admittedly is rather common, hence all the practising) I have to roll with it, further highlighting the problem in the finished sketch and pushing myself to avoid the same issue with the next attempt.
So Please join me on Twitter and Instagram for daily updates of my newest drawing project. Plus stay tuned on this Blog for future updates over the upcoming summer months.
Out of all the drawings I’ve done over the course of this Blog there’s one creature design that I absolutely love revisiting, the Calcibus. Originally designed as nothing more than a simple minded magically conjured golem, I later re-imagined them as their own race and have slowly been expanding on their mythology ever since. Here shows the four Calcibus designs I’ve developed to date, the Rubber, Bone, Rubble and Snow Calcibus, along with a far more in-depth explanation about the races unique physiology and ancient history.
Each individual Calci is nothing more than a minute ball of almost pure energy, not much bigger than a speck of dust. At this stage they seemingly live for one goal, to find others of their kind. As small swarms of Calci begin to build they start to cluster towards the centre of the group forming their collective hive mind, a hive mind that eventually builds large enough to take on the persona of single collective presences known as a Calcibus. Not only does this Calcibus have the collective intellect of the billions of Calci that make it up, but also the effects of each individual Calci’s personal anti-gravity field, an aurora that on mass has the power to lift colossal weights and suspend them in the air to build up a protective shell around the central swarm. This shell, often composed of whatever is found around it, is not only used as mobile shelter and means of protection but also to help give the Calcibus a physical form. To help maintain and suspend their shells without too much strain on the hive minds concentration, the Calcibus once having reached a critical mass creates “lifeless” drone Calci known as Supporters. These Support Calci help bolster the total anti-gravity field of a Calcibus without superseding the natural limit of intelligent Calci a single hive mind can support before dangerous split personalities begin to form. The Support Calci can also be “programmed” to perform tasks not only autonomously but also remotely. This means that the Calcibus can use the Supports to do monotonous and unintelligent jobs, such as keeping a pillar afloat, without wasting any of its overall brain power. Additionally these Supporters can do their jobs without rest and little upkeep. While the standard Calci do require rest, regularly rotating shifts within the swarm, it has long been a mystery how or even if they require sustenance. Most Calcibus carry a reserve of minerals, normally metals and crystals, deep within their core where they are slowly broken down, however this appears to be used more in the creation of Supports than culinary purposes. They mostly communicate with each other through luminescence and murmuration, but can also use vibrations to mimic speech. Thanks to their unique abilities the Calcibus are a much revered, often miss understood and sort after race. Thankfully their defensive and intimidating powers have helped prevent exploitation and their civilisation has become one of the galaxies most thriving.
Unsurprisingly the Calcibus and the Calci that form them are not a natural race, instead they are an extremely advanced engineered lifeform, created by an individual known only as Kaleem the Ancient Sphere of Configuration. While much of their early history is kept secret, It is known that they were originally created by Kaleem as labourers to help protect and care for the elderly entity. It is said that when he saw that his creations had developed beyond mere servants he freed them to pursue independent lives and build their own civilisation. Despite being free the Calcibus continued to care for Kaleem, building their culture around him where he has became regarded as a god and leader. Since freeing the Calcibus Kaleem lapsed into a coma like hibernation, only ever awakening from his slumber once every two hundred years for a few days to check his creations progression. Despite revering him as a god, they known that he is infact a highly evolved alien, a fact he regularly reminds them off. However aside from that and the fact that he is most likely the last of his kind nothing else is known about him or the race he belongs to. Although it is theorised that the ancient cities of their homeworld Cheljm in which Kaleem took shelter may have been cities belonging to his ancestors.
Originally planned in the run-up to Christmas, the Snow Calcibus was pushed back and over taken by the rendering of the Common Eye of Darn. In addition to the development of my newest “Universe 77” literature based project revolving around the artwork created here on my Blog, a project I will be continuing to build upon and posting about over the course of the year.
The traditional and most recognisable Calcibus shells are those made from natural rock, stone rubble, dirt and dead wood. However a continuing trend, particularly amongst “younger” newly formed hive minds, is to venture away from the traditional materials and forms for more diverse and often outlandish shells, seeking uniqueness from other hives. This trend has emerged to help tackle the identity crisis Calcibus often face as the Calci that collaborate together to build the Calcibus hive mind, regularly die off and shift between hives causing its core personality to be continuously in flux. By constructing a unique personalised shell they can keep some sense of stability and easily recognisable identity. It has become one of the biggest cultural shifts in Calcibus history and has evolved into the formation of various subcultures within Calcibus society. Some of these subcultures such as the dreaded Bone Calcibus cult have become a bane to Calcibus society and feared by the wider galaxy, whereas the Christmassy Snow Calcibus of Winter Wonderland are a subculture cherished, particularly by Humans.
The Snow Calcibus of Winter Wonderland, on the planet Reunila, where originally travelling merchants and craftsmen visiting the predominantly Human world for trade. Eventually some decided to setup shop and a small population of Calcibus soon built up. Like all Calcibus they built their body shells out of whatever they could find around them and for the Calcibus of Winter Wonderland that was almost exclusively ice and snow. However unable to prevent the snow from melting under heat they would often layer the snow over an inner brick shell, this meant that even if the snow thawed they would still be protected. The whimsical look was an instant success amongst the dominant Human population who affectionately nicknamed them “Snow Golems”. During the Christmas period the Calcibus joined the Humans in their celebrations by incorporating festive decorations onto their shells. This fast became a sight indicative to Winter Wonderland and is helping the isolated mining world build its reputation as a viable colony thanks to increased outside interest in the planet and its unique Calcibus population.
The Eyes of Darn are spherical creatures found in the thick upper layers of the pink tinted gas dwarf planet Darn. The Eyes of Darn resemble large floating eyeballs surrounded by a metallic cage like framework, and while it may resemble an eye it cannot actually see the world in the tradition sense. Instead of being a true eye its eyeball like body is in actuality a vast form of mouth. The brown veins that run across its surface expand in size and absorb nutrients and microbes from the surrounding atmosphere. The pupil like region acts more like a true eye, scanning through Darns thick clouds and reading their chemical composition as well as basic information on their structures and form, seeing the world through a bizarre combination of radar and taste. The Eye of Darn uses this information to build a picture of its surroundings and determine where the best feeding hotspots are located. Another misconception is that the fleshy mass located centrally within its protective framework is an exposed brain. In actuality its main purpose is as a regulatory organ that helps cool the “blood” before it flows back into its main body core helping to prevent overheating. In fact the Eyes of Darn do not have single centralised brains, but rather smaller more specialised “brains” working in tandem throughout its nervous system.
The Common Eyes of Darn is as the name suggests the commonest of its kind found on Darn, where they travel around the planet in large herds. It is theorised that because they are visually blind the golden colouration on their protective framework must act as reflectors, each giving off a unique signature allowing them to identify one another when scanned.
Above once again shows the stills from the Eye of Darns rendering progression. This time I have picked out the four main stages from this pieces development, from its original pencil linework through to its fully Photoshopped render complete with background and effects.