Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Smile Birdies Header Sample II

A different take on the header:

Difficult to see, but on a yellow background on-site.

Also, experimenting with banners such as this:

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Smile Birdies Header Sample

I was recently trying to come up with a better design for a comic strip project of mine.  I was looking to rework the design of the webpage and the fonts used on the page and in the strip.  I want silly and even cute, without it being childish.  Here is the latest header I was mulling over:

Click to enlarge

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Friends Don't Let Friends Draw Friends II: Bang!

Quick update - heading to a birthday party where the theme is the extremely fun card game Bang!.  I thought it appropriate to whip up something for the birthday girl (who believes that she is both a pirate and a ninja):

Click to enlarge

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cover Photos: Mel

An old image turned into a Google+, and a Facebook, cover photo:

G+ - Click to enlarge

Facebook - Click to enlarge

PS - I have been absolutely addicted to Guild Wars 2.  Wonderful game!  Buy it, love it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mr. Sparkles - Guild Wars 2

Another Guild Wars 2 themed image.  Pre-purchase weekend cannot come soon enough!

This time, instead of making up something on the fly, I went with a soon-to-be iconic Mr. Sparkles and his famous in-game catch phase:

Click to Enlarge

Whether you are starting on the 25th, the 27th, or 28th, prepare to don your behind hats!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Draw Yourself as a Super Villain

I was digging around in some old folders and found a "Draw Yourself as a Super Villain" image from an even older exercise.

A bit of proportionality wonkiness, but nice and silly nonetheless.

I think I may still be using this in an "About Me" photo on one of my other sites...which is probably not the best idea in the world....

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Warm-Up Sketch: Griff

"But there was no mistaking Griff.  "That will be enough shouting," he said.  A sudden silence fell upon the river.  This one will be trouble, Tyrion knew at once."
--ADWD, Tyrion p. 119

As important as "Griff" is in ADWD, I am surprised I haven't seen any portraits of him attempted.  I thought I might try one with a quick warm-up sketch.

My thoughts are that Griff should appear as your stern, but cool uncle, but not the boring disciplinarian that Stannis might appear to be.  I also added the beard, since it's there when he arrives back in Westeros.

This may end up as a digital portrait at some point, but I am not sure if I want to save this for after I try a quick sketch of "Young Griff" as well.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Summoning - Guild Wars 2

I finished up a few tweaks to the previous Facebook cover photo and turned it into a Guild Wars 2 themed image - when the Al.chemy pieces started to come together yesterday, this is the result that formed in my mind.

In the game's mythology, the "Deep Sea Dragon" is a bit of a mystery, as it is the only Elder Dragon to not be named thus far.  Each dragon has a champion, and since increased activity of the enemy NPC race known as the Krait seems to be linked to this Dragon's activity, I thought this champion should certainly bear a similar appearance.

Guild Wars 2 comes out on the 28th of August, and it is going to be a long wait.  After playing in all three beta weekends and the two stress tests, I am already in love with the game.

Click to Enlarge

Facebook Cover Photo: The Summoning

An exercise using Alchemy and Photoshop.  There was no initial plan for this image, I just let the Alchemy shapes take over and I went along for the ride.  I'll put this in the "Facebook Cover Photo" category, since I started haphazardly with those dimensions when I was exporting shapes into Photoshop.

Click to Enlarge

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Misc.: Dancer in London

A few weeks back I showed off a couple of rejected logo designs done for a dance studio based out of southern New Jersey.   I was happy to find out today that the owner used the central images (the dancers) as part of a banner for the studio's trip to the 2012 Olympics in London!  Take a look:

(Click to enlarge)

There is still a bit of time before the studio changes names and is able to use the new logo, but it will still be cool to see a shot of the banner from one of the performance venues in London next month.

(Photo copyright of Artistry Academy of Performing Arts/Absecon Academy of Performing Arts)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Facebook Cover Photo: Mountains

Another Facebook cover photo image, this time taken from one of my old 3-panel comics and altered to match the proper dimensions.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Warm-Up Sketch: GenericHero001

A few weeks ago I got a copy of Sketchbook Pro.  Today, to go along with that, I managed to upgrade my pen tablet from a 4x5 Wacom Graphire to a 6x9 Wacom Intuos4.  After fooling around with random, scratch lines a bit, here is the first thing that fell out of quickly testing the two together: nothing grandiose, but good practice for getting used to the pressure sensitivity settings.  I am looking forward to testing out how the tablet handles in Photoshop as well.

I should note that the title "GenericHero001" is a nod to the game City of Heroes.
When people create characters that mimic copyrighted characters, their names would
eventually be changed to GenericHero and a number.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Jaqen H'ghar, Valar Morghulis

Before season two of HBO's Game of Thrones started, I did a a few quick sketches based on a photo of Tom Wlaschiha to see if I could get an idea for an image of everyone's favorite introduction to the Faceless Men, Jaqen H'ghar. I finally got around to working on the image idea for Jaqen, figured out how to tell Arya's story with it, and finished it all up (unfortunately, the season is well over with at this point).

I originally wanted Jaqen, Arya, and the coin to look like a vector image with a white background.
The coin never looked correct without some detail however, and this led to many changes.
(Click to enlarge)

Here are two of the aforementioned initial quick sketches, just for the sake of showing where the original idea for the image started.  I hadn't even seen a picture of Jaqen's hair yet, but it was pretty obvious from the books that it needed to be long; the shock white on his left side was a simple redo after viewing.

See, and I made it through this post without spoiling a single thing from the book!  Someone call the Citadel in Oldtown and have them send Pate to deliver my prize!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Warm-up Sketch: Pabu

Still working through the learning curve on Sketchbook Pro, this time via another quick Legend of Korra sketch. I am going to have to work on my stylus and brush settings to figure out how to get a smooth transition from low-to-high pressure lines (I work on a very small, 4x5 Wacom Graphire, so every little movement seems enhanced or exaggerated).

Background and lettering done quickly in Photoshop.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Warm-Up Sketch: Korra

I finally got a copy of Autodesk Sketchbook Pro!  I have admired the work of Skottie Young and Calum Alexander Watt for quite awhile now, and was always impressed with the way they both got the most out of their line work and colors via this program.  I took a look at a number of YouTube process videos (by a number of artists) and was sold.

I just had a chance to watch the entire "Legend of Korra" series this past weekend (which I very highly recommend to anyone looking for a great cartoon series), so I figured I'd take a stab at drawing Korra for a quick warm-up sketch.

I was starting to see a bit more clearly by the end how the line-weight worked,
as well as the opacity-fill equivalent for the softer brushes.

I still have a lot of work to do to get used to the the controls, the brushes, and the overall program in general (not to mention the work I need to do to improve my ability to color), but this was a really fun first step.  I would recommend this in a heartbeat to anyone looking for a great art program (and that isn't even taking into consideration the fact that the price is unbelievably good).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rejected Logos

I enjoy making logos.  At times, some of my favorite designs never see the light of day.  There are always various issues that pop up (printing, usage, style, naming, etc.) that can force a design to the cutting room floor.

Here are two recent designs for a dance studio which wouldn't work based on company printing needs and naming issues.  The dancer portion of the logo will show up in the final version, but these two samples get their moment in the sun here:

(Copyright Artistry Academy of Performing Arts/Absecon Academy of Performing Arts)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Facebook Timeline, by Catwoman

I finally gave in and made the switch to Timeline on Facebook.  The lure of being able to fool with the cover photo was too much to resist.  Here is the completed cover photo, which was teased in a WIP post earlier this month.

Anne Hathaway clearly used as the reference for Catwoman,
and an overall nod to the awesome Adam Hughes' sleek, latex outfit design.
(Click to enlarge)

I am not sure the cover photo fun makes up for the ugly left-right alternating posts, but what's done is done.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Warm-up Sketch: Diet Nuclear

I was sorting through some old images and came across this two-part warm-up sketch.  The exercise is to quickly sketch an object, and then quickly use your imagination to change it into something else.  This was pretty simple, turning a Diet Pepsi bottle into a cartoony nuclear reactor (appropriate, considering the level of my addiction to caffeine)

(I think this was actually done in Open Canvas, and not Photoshop.
I particularly like the way Open Canvas looks like a pencil-made sketch
with the right opacity settings.)

It is a pretty good, creative exercise, and hopefully this will serve as a reminder to do it more often!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

W.I.P.: Catwoman Timeline

I have come to terms with the fact that Facebook will soon switch everyone over to Timeline.  So, I supposed I am now using it as an excuse to fool around with possible Cover Photo images.  Below is a piece of one of the possible images - Catwoman, using Anne Hathaway photos as reference.

I am actually surprised so many people use actual photos for their cover photo on Facebook.  I thought it would be the one feature people would fool around and tinker with on their profiles.  I can appreciate the use of a good photo though, and with the easy access to so many high quality digital cameras I understand it as a fast and easy way to make a flashy statement.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Straniero Images - Tumblr

I have recently started a Tumblr to complement this blog.  Everything that is there will be over here of course, plus this site will continue to have all of the WIP, miscellaneous sketches, and drawings as well.  Think of the Tumblr as the "Image" and "Cartoon" tabs from this site combined into one tab, but in a Tumblr-y format.  Check it out:

Straniero Images - Tumblr

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter Eggs

Are your kids finding hidden Easter Eggs too quickly?  Try these decoration ideas instead:

(Click to Enlarge)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Community & Game of Thrones: a Mash-Up

This had to be done...

Community returns to TV on 3/15!
Game of Thrones returns on 4/1!

Clearly, a mash-up was in order: all of the main Community characters, as characters in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.  I behaved; everything is based on the GoT TV series where season 1 and season 2 meet, so no spoilers this time around.  Honestly, some of the matches and jokes were so obvious  the Winger explanation of the E Pluribus Anus flag was running through my head while making them.  Others are hopefully subtle enough to appease the true Community (and GoT) aficionado.


(Click to Enlarge)

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Greendale is coming!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dr.Sketchy’s Philadelphia - Centerfold Academy

This past Saturday, I ventured out of my cave to see if I could recall how to use actual pens and pencils.  Dr. Sketchy's - Philly presented "The Centerfold Academy" with Celeste Giuliano Photography, featuring models Samantha Samsam and Victoria, at Blick Art Materials in Center City.

A great turnout, a huge space, and double the great models = great event.  Some of the damage is as follows (I was late so, instead of being able to browse Blick for some quality ink pens beforehand, ink will be defined as "the magic marker in my bag" for the purposes of the images below):

Samantha, in her last pose of the night.  Vintage pic/postcard theme.
Had to snag a phone pic here since the original is still floating around at Blick.

Quick sketches - Samantha.

Quick sketches - Victoria.
Yes...those are feet at the bottom right (it was all I could see from my seat during that fast pose!).

Ink sketches - Samantha.  Vintage tattoo theme.

Victoria, in her final pose of the night.  Vintage postcard theme.
I only had quick pencils down at the time she finished - so the ink was very
incomplete, rushed, and after-the-fact.

As always, thanks again for the great time!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"I Hate Love" Garbage

Image inspired by a post on Garbage's website, in honor of both Valentine's Day and their new song "I Hate Love".

Click to Enlarge

2/14 V-Day Update:
Make sure to check out the "I Hate Love" teaser video on the Garbage website!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Buzz Buzz

Just for fun.  Labeled NSFW for the suggestion more than anything else.

This started as another Manara-esque practice image, but turned into something else.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Warm-up Sketch: Peeping Horror

I am not much of a horror artist, but this warm-up was a bit too bland.  Some creative (and/or disturbing) elements were needed to keep me going.

[Mildly NSFW image after the jump.]

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Warm-up Sketch: Woman's Face

A quick, warm-up sketch from the other day:

More to come, once I stop brooding over 2-3 unfinished images.
Happy New Year!