Sketchbook – non-embellishment/ruddle



Back in March, my partner came up with a fun art exercise. We used a random word generator to assign us both two words, which were to form the basis for our sketch. We had limited time to create the pencil sketch, and then the rest was done in ball point pen, so that we could not erase. We worked in limited canvas space, too.

My words were

non-embellishment: something that is not ornamental, unadorned, not an embellishment (if concerning something said in the telling of a story, a non-embellishment is factual, and in no way an elaboration).


ruddle: a red pigment consisting of ocher.

So, we have a young girl drawing a curtain(?) over the run-down out-skirts of a city.

I’m pretty proud of the ornamentation of the wall. It depicts a great many-eyed serpent that features in the local folklore, as well as so many hidden birds, and some plant life. I’m proudest of the bricks and shingles, though.

As I’m working on the pages for The Here, After Now, I’m going to keep dabbling away on these little side projects to keep myself flexible. I’m having a grand ole time.

Afloat process07


Continuing colour work for the first page of our illustrated post apocalyptic Canadian short story. Working on the soft shading.


Here’s how Elliot’s face is coming along. I wonder if I should push the warm/cool contrast a bit more here. I’m considering also giving the shading harder edges… We’ll see. I’ll try a few more things and see how my lovely partner, the fine gentleman who drew the line art, reacts. 

Here are his shorts. They’re from a different panel. I’m playing with a bit of cool light reflecting up off of the water. Not sure if I’ve got it yet. Still, it’s good to experiment.

As always, I appreciate any advice or insight.

Afloat process06


Working on the colours for page one of our illustrated post apocalyptic short story. Sparkling up the water. I’m going to start the major shading soon.


Got to rust out that car, still. And see what I can do about the boat. Still, here’s what the water looks like at the moment. I’ll probably rework it a bit more before the night’s through.


I’m quite fond of how the paddle splash is looking thus far. I love it when I get to do a bit more digital painting to go along with my partner’s lines, and the water’s providing quite the opportunity.
I’m getting close to the final big blocks of work with this page. Soon it’ll be down to the fiddliest of adjustments and details.

Afloat process 05


I’m still working on the colours for that first page of our illustrated post apocalyptic short story, working title “Afloat.”

Painted up the trees in the background. You can barely tell but I like the way it looks.


I think I’m mostly done staining and weathering the character’s clothes. I put some time into trying to make the bottoms of his shorts look damp. I’m working on the water, now.


I wonder. Can I really ever spend too much time on details?

The answer is yes. I’m not done yet, though.

Afloat process04


Continuing colour work on the first page of our illustrated post apocalyptic Canadian short story.

Here’s Elliot, the protagonist. I’m just getting ready to do some broad shading and colour adjustments, so I load up an adjustment layer for hue/saturation, and I end up with the happy accident below.

Suddenly, we’re looking at Elliot through rose-tinted lenses. I love this sort of faded red-pink. I might use it as the main palette of another image. Reducing the palette in this way’s made it clear to me that I need to adjust the values in Elliot’s palette… I should probably go for a bit more contrast between his shirt and skin. Hopefully that’ll make it more pleasing to the eye.

Afloat process03


Continuing work on page one of Afloat, a short illustrated story set in a post apocalyptic Canadian wasteland.

Finally got around to rusting over this sign.

I love rust. I just keep fiddling with it. And fiddling and fiddling. I actually had two versions of the above image prepared to post, but I realized that the difference between them was… Laughably insignificant. Ah, well. I’ll decide between the two with the assistance of my lovely partner.

Afloat process02


Uploading snippets of my progress as I work on the colours for the pages of this story. Post apocalyptic, Canadian, no more than five pages.

Still on page one, but I’m pleased with how it’s going thus far.

Here is a sign. It has not yet realized its age or position in the world, so I have not yet applied rust. However, the sea moss has crept in.

Just did the flats for this little guy.

Deformed seagulls are an ongoing thing in our post apocalyptic world. This is because they are fun to draw, and also because of how sensitive birds and amphibians are to changes in the environment. If you saw more frogs perching on fence posts, I’m sure we’d have more of them, too. I’m going to petition for more frog visibility.

(I might be getting tired.)

Afloat process1


I’m working away on the colours for the first page of a small story. Post apocalyptic. Canadian. It will be no more than five pages, so the art and writing need to be tight. Afloat is the working title.

This one’s got lots of water in. So much water. I foresee much standing at the waterfront and screaming, “WHAT ARE YOU?! HOW DO YOU EVEN WORK?!”

I’m going to upload little previews here as I work, so as to help me keep track of my progress.

I’m having fun making the water a bit murky. I feel that up close, it should be muddy, maybe even oily or obviously polluted. It’s not a healthy planet, after all. At present I’ve contented myself with silt and a bit of sea moss. It’ll be filthy by the time I’m done, though. It’ll make a better contrast against the open water, when we get there.

This car will be more rust eaten. And I’ll probably paint in some more dirt and sea moss. I’ve developed an inordinate fondness for green slime.

The problem with trousers (animated gif)


I woke up with this line in my head and I’m glad I got to use it somewhere.

Out of all the animations I’ve put together for class so far, this one’s my favourite, and the one I’m most proud of.

I used photo reference to draw the wolf’s face, even though I went quite off-model (off-anatomy?) in the animation. Hopefully the fact that it’s sort of a cartoon makes this less offensive.


One of my classes has me making a lot of animated gifs. It’s good fun. I thought I’d post this here to share with all you lovely folks. I know many of you are at least as fond of obscure words as I am.

I wonder if I should source this to the wordpress site I’ve been making for that same class. Everything’s up there as well. Perhaps I will if/when I make something good of it.