Sunday, 21 December 2014

Dragon Fly v2

I was commissioned by Tatami Fightwear to create a sequel to the first Dragon Fly rashguard I designed back in 2012. The new version is available now from the Tatami website.

My digital drawing and painting skills have improved since 2012 so I wanted to use this opportunity to improve on the 2012 version with finer details and better composition while still honouring the first version.

Here's how I did it:

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Midnight Tigers

I chose to draw tigers for the theme of my most recent own-brand fightwear project. Specifically, the style I drew these tigers is based on the popular traditional Chinese watercolour form of tiger paintings.

I created three different tiger poses and began each one with a basic pencil sketch. After several drafts, I scanned in the sketches and drew over the top using Manga Studio Pro. I chose this program because the brush/pen tool gave a really lovely fluid line that I felt was perfect for drawing fur and tiger stripes. I then saved these as PNG files and opened them up in Adobe Illustrator for Live Tracing and colouring.

The reason I love the Chinese depiction of tigers is their very heroic posing. It makes for a very eye-catching composition, albeit slightly unnatural looking. I mean, I don't know if real tigers crane their necks in the same manner and clamber up massive mountain peaks only to stand there and, sort of just look cool. If I was a tiger, I know I would definitely do that!

Anyway, these drawings went from pencil sketch to digital painting onto the final clothing product without any drama, I'm very pleased with the way they turned out!

My Midnight Tigers are available to buy over at my store.


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Review: Brush Pens

I bought a bunch of brush pens to try them out. They all are very different in feel and touch. Here I report on my experiences with the brush pens:

Friday, 14 November 2014

Wacom Intuos Pro (Small)

For the past few years I have been using a Wacom Intuos 3 for my day job. It was terrible. I mean it performed its function as a tablet and pen perfectly fine, but the construction was awful. The pen button quickly fell apart and the rubber grip became smooth and yucky. The tablet itself was way too big for me (my IT manager had ordered a size Large) and the surface cover got scratched and dented. All this I could live with but when the cursor itself became erratic and stutter, I had enough and demanded a replacement. And voila! My IT manager came through and ordered me a brand spanking new Wacom Intuos Pro (small). So I thought I would offer a quick first-use review:

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Brittany Ann Fight Mascot

Brittany Ann is an MMA fighter and grappler based in Japan. I was asked to create for her a cute Japanese cartoon style personal mascot revolving around her favourite submission technique - the guillotine. Brittany has her own variation of the technique which is dubbed the Bri Choke or Brillotine.

After a brief conversation about the types of imagery that inspires Brittany, I suggested a pair of cats, one of them wearing a tiger suit and enacting out the guillotine choke.

The above is the first concept sketch, below the next steps towards finalisation.

Pen tool in Manga Studio Pro helped produce a rough ink version to the pencil sketch above

This version was drawn in Adobe Illustrator for the clean lines and flat colours

Final version with added glow in Photoshop.

Brittany will be fighting in the Deep Jewels 6 event on 3rd November. I wish her the best of luck!


Monday, 8 September 2014

Cultural appropriation

This weekend I decided I would draw the Hindu deity known as Ganesha. It was just something I remember reading about long time ago and I’ve been wanting to draw for ages. I posted the sketch on Facebook and the thread lit up. The main topic of debate was cultural appropriation – if I were to commit that drawing towards an item of clothing, would I offend Hindu people by doing so?

Opinion was divided, including among those who declared themselves as Hindu. Some cautioned me about the issue, stating that they knew of people who were sick of non-Hindu uses of their Holy icons. Others welcomed my depiction.
Reading around on the topic further – for example this essay – the issue is cause for concern among those who feel that their carefully nurtured culture and history is being eroded and ‘cheapened’ by those outside of it. And yet on the other hand, there are those who argue that we live in a melting pot society and the proliferation of new ideas, icons, imagery and themes from other sources can help to keep the traditions alive and introduce them to a whole new audience - for example as expressed in this opinion piece.

Most artists and illustrators I believe are sensitive to these issues. We research our subjects with care and try to learn as much around the topic before committing to artworks. In my case, I guess one could easily point at many instances of cultural appropriation. For example Irish leprechaun, Hanuman, Buddha monkey, Haida shark:

Final thoughts
I personally feel that for an artist, depicting images from other cultures shouldn’t be off-limits. I also feel that an artist applying their own interpretation on traditional themes is fine. But with research and reading around the subject, it is also important not to do something deliberately disrespectful and inflammatory. For example, it is common knowledge that drawing the prophet Muhammad in any form is offensive to Islamic tradition. Similarly, applying Hindu symbols and art onto shoes and footwear is extremely offensive.

I don’t know if any product line will develop from my drawings of Hindu deities. If I do make something, I hope the majority will recognize that I do so in honour of the rich cultural heritage and a route to reach out to a wider audience who perhaps may be inspired to learn more about other cultures.


Saturday, 30 August 2014

Black Tortoise

Black tortoise is the second in a series of drawings for the Swedish fightwear brand Kenka. The first one I drew was the white tiger.

I began the piece with a detailed sketch of the tortoise:

I liked the carapace shape and textures and the limbs but the head wasn't quite right. A few quick re-draws and I felt this was more like what I wanted, plus I added in the snake outline:

Then I added in the details:

Once scanned, I was able to play around with the layout and I felt that inverting the design would bring out the best of the whole rashguard:

The Kenka Black Tortoise is available to buy here on the Kenka webstore.


Monday, 21 July 2014

Pens and stuff

I've been shopping at the ludicrously addictive website Cult Pens and bought some new items which I will write about later. But in a mild bout of OCD, I decided to do a pen inventory of my art box, and here is the current line up (minus a bunch of duplicate pens and misc pens that I never use).

The brush pens (A) are new. I will be giving them a play around soon and posting up the results here. All the fineliners in (B) and (F) are the same ones I wrote about in my fineliner review.

The Posca and Kurecolour markers were bought solely for my series of canvas shoe and baseball hat artworks. I'm keen to do more, mainly so that I can make further use of these excellent colour markers.

The white pens (H) are new, one is a Tippex pen, the other is a Uni-Ball Signo Broad Gel Pen, which I have read reviews saying it is the best opaque white liner pen in town. White pens are vital for my drawings where I have to capture lots of white hair and fur. Even when drawing on white paper, a white pen has considerable use combined with the black colour fineliners.

Pencils, eraser and sharpeners are everyday tools for my sketches. The rest are kind of extras that fill my artbox but rarely get an outing. I definitely want to try some more calligraphy, or rather, my own shaky attempts at gothic hand lettering. In fact another one of the new pens I bought is a very wide nib calligraphy pen which I'm dying to test out.


Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Morcegão Vale Tudo Fight Shorts

I designed some Vale Tudo fight shorts. This style of shorts was popular with fighters a long time ago in Brazil and have since been a staple of MMA fighters and nogi grapplers the world over. My version features a big bat that I drew. (Big bat in Portuguese is known as Morcegão).

Here's how I put the design together:-

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Bald Eagle - step by step video

This was a fun art project I set myself with the aim of honouring my USA followers. I began with pencil sketching the eagle and flag. I took a still frame with my SLR camera every few pencil strokes, then combined them within Windows Movie Maker. 

I next scanned in the sketch and inked the remainder of the lines within Manga Studio Pro. Finally, I saved the Manga Studio image as a transparent PNG and played around with flag background and grungy textures in Photoshop. All these digital work throughs were recorded using a screen capture program called Snagit.

This is the finished piece:

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Cintiq 22HD Touch updates and Art Software Demos

Since purchasing the Cintiq 22HD touch and getting very comfortable with handling and operating the graphics tablet - see my initial report  - I have spent some time experimenting with different art programs.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Cintiq 22HD Touch

I bought myself a Wacom Cintiq 22HD touch. This is a dedicated graphics tablet which enables users to digitally draw directly onto the screen. After many years of using a standard Wacom Intuos tablet, I felt it was time to upgrade to something that would give me a closer connection between hand and eye. Here are my initial thoughts on the device…

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Flying Peacocks

When I first created my fighting flying peacocks last Christmas as a smartphone wallpaper design it received a lot of positive attention. I was originally inspired by a visit to the zoo where I saw a lone male peacock strutting around and upon further research, I learned that peacocks are pretty badass when it comes to defending their territory. So I decided to take the theme a little further and create peacock rashguard and spat designs. Here's how I put them together:-

Monday, 10 March 2014

Review: Schenker W703 Laptop

Regular readers of my main Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Meerkatsu blog will know that I am rather fond of reviewing stuff. In a slight departure from my usual reviews, I thought I would post a few thoughts on my new laptop computer - the Schenker 17 inch W703 Laptop. If you are an IT geek, then forgive me as I am light on the tech side of things in this review...

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Grapplethon 2014 Heavenly Bow and Arrow Choke

The poster above features my drawing of a girl executing a 'bow and arrow' choke submission on a demon character. They are sort of air borne and thus I call this the 'Heavenly Bow and Arrow.'

Here's a brief run down of how I put it all together:-

Friday, 14 February 2014

Valentine Vultures

February 14th, Valentine's Day, what better than the share the joy of love than by drawing some black vultures!

Despite feasting on rotting carcasses, black vultures are surprisingly loved up creatures. Once they find a mate, they stay together for life. Black vulture culture (note the cool rhyme!) frowns upon extra-marital relations. If a member is caught in flagrante with another outside of his partner, the other vultures will attack the offending participants. Crazy!

Here's how I pieced it together:

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Ministry of Jiu Jitsu

The Ministry of Jiu Jitsu is a government department I invented that would be solely in charge of furthering the development of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The coat of arms was heavily inspired by the Royal Coat of Arms and the Ministry name was inspired by the UK's Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Justice.

Here's how I put it together...

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Year of the Horse

Today, January 31st is the Chinese New Year. It's year of the horse so I thought it would be a nice opportunity to draw my own vision of a leaping, galloping, frolicking horsey. Here's how I did it...