Inktober in October

inky-handTomorrow is the first day on Inktober and it looks like a great opportunity to work on a new daily exercise. I spent 2 months at the end of the summer drawing mazes every day and it turned out to be very rewarding. I was able to explore a variety of different ways to make mazes and developed some new techniques for drawing, digitizing and coloring that will prove valuable in all my drawings.
Inktober is an annual exercise in daily discipline during the month of October. Created as an informal challenge by illustrator Jake Parker in 2009, artists around the world will make an ink drawing every day for 31 days and post it with the hashtag #inktober on Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, or wherever. I have an upcoming magazine commission to create illustrations of beer, wine and restaurants so for Inktober I’ll be drawing whatever food and drink I can find around my apartment. My plan is to use a brush pen and sumi ink wash and I’ll be posting work-in-progress on my Instagram and finished drawings on my Tumblr. Let the inking begin!

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The Powerhouse in Jersey City


I spent the early afternoon drawing the Powerhouse building in Jersey City from across the street. I used Edge Touch on my iPhone to draw the building, light rail and cars, then animated in Fireworks back at home. I’m really happy with this one.

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Pixel Art with Edge Touch


I made the above drawing of my daughters while we were hanging out at the playground next to their school. I created it in Edge Touch on my iPhone and I’m really impressed with this app. I’ve tried a few other pixel art apps but this one had all the features I could hope for: an HLS slider to fine tune colors, customizable color palettes, and GIF export. Add to that layers, animation and even onion skinning and I’ve finally found an app for my phone that I’m excited to draw with. Color me impressed… and a bit confused. All those features packed on a tiny touch screen can be daunting. Luckily there’s an online manual.

hobokenlibraryI sat in Church Square Park today and drew the Hoboken Library, then animated the GIF later in Adobe Fireworks.


Christopher Yabsley has a great series of pixel art tutorials on YouTube, as well as a few covering the software Pyxel Edit, which is great for making 2d game sprites.

Here’s a great run down on what pixel art is (and isn’t) and explains concepts like anti-aliasing, dithering, banding, jaggies and more.

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Digital Painting and the Hudson River School

Chris Oatley has a wonderful blog post about how to create realistic texture in digital painting by examining the techniques of the 19th century Hudson River School of painters. It’s really important to open our eyes to history and see how past artists have tackled issues in visual image making and Chris has done a great job analyzing this particular period of realistic artists.

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Peanuts in 3D

Charles Schulz ink drawings of good ol’ Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang are a joyful display of jiggly, wiggly lines and anxious slashes of ink. It looks like some of those lines are finding their way in the new Peanuts movie. Even though the movie is in 3D the film makers managed to kept the personality of the characters and gave them some dimension. It looks like a great way to respect the original artwork so we don’t get a creepy 3D reboot like Yogi Bear or Garfield.

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Whale Facts

I wish I’d seen this animation by Drew Christie before reading Moby Dick last year. Learn about whales and more in “Song of the Spindle“.

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Tom Law’s 1000 Self Portraits Animation

Animator Tom Law drew 15 minute self portraits over the course of almost 3 years and put them together in an animation titled “I Always Look Angry: 1000 Self Portraits”. It’s cool seeing the evolution of his drawings over time.

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Making a Maze a Day


In an attempt to keep from gluing my face to my iPhone on public transit I’ve started drawing little mazes in my sketch book. After realizing I’ve made one every day for the past week I figured I’d make it official with a hashtag. Follow #amazeaday to see if I can post “A Maze A Day”… for the rest of my life?

UPDATE August 1: I started

UPDATE September 21: I stopped making daily mazes once I hit maze #60. It’s now a maze every few days.

Here’s a Flickr set of my latest 12 drawings.

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George Washington’s Dentures

George Washington's Dentures
George Washington's PistolGeorge Washington's

Buy the above prints in my shop on Society 6.

I visited Mount Vernon a few weeks ago with my family and was immersed in the world of George Washington. Located near Alexandria, Virginia, Mount Vernon was the plantation home of the Washington family from as early as 1674 and was handed down through successive generations, including that of the first president of the United States of America. The estate is maintained well and includes the president’s home and gardens, as well as the tomb of George and Martha Washington. There is a museum on the grounds which includes a historical survey of the president’s life and artifacts from the estate.

I took the opportunity while visiting to draw some of the items on display in both the home and the museum. They don’t allow photography within the home so I pulled out my trusty sketch book and drew images within the rooms: a beautiful harpsichord, the presidential chair, the president’s pistol, and the key to the Bastille that was gifted to Washington by Lafayette after the French Revolution.

In the museum there is a prominent display of George Washington’s false teeth which, contrary to popular myth, are not made of wood. The display includes a fascinating timeline of the many problems with Washington’s mouth and the work of various dentists to alleviate his suffering and give him something to chew with. At the end of his life Washington only had one original tooth and the dentures on display have a small hole for that tooth to sit among the others that had been fabricated from human and hippopotamus bones.

You can’t take pictures of Washington’s teeth either so I drew an image of the lead and bone construction. I later brought my drawings into Photoshop and created the images that are posted above. I’ve included the key to the Bastille, Washington’s flint-lock pistol, and his dentures. All three are available as prints in my Society 6 shop.

Below is a photo of the ink brush strokes that I layered to create the texture of the teeth, metal and shadow.

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Drawing a Basket of Bread

bread 3-small

Buy the print at my shop on Society 6.

I drew this bread basket while having a coffee at Choc-O-Pain cafe in Hoboken. It’s a simple picture but I’m really excited about it because I was able to really nail a technique I’ve been working on the past few months. The picture incorporates a combination of ink line and sumi brush work with color in Photoshop. Below are some of the steps I went through.

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