Saturday, December 5, 2009

Shoulders, Suits, Old Movies

There is a long tradition in Tinseltown of trying to look better than you actually do. In that spirit I used photoshop to cook up four pages of a 2 week sketchbook to just show the high lights. I tend to ignore my sketchbook, then rediscover it with enthusiasm - bad habit - but I think lots of artists do the same!

I like watching old movies, trying to get an impression of the folds as the figures move. It's amazing how many shots are just guys wearing suits. I tend to be obsessed with the things I can't draw over the years, and shoulders / necks / clothing has always been high on my list. Probably because it ends up so often in your framing if you storyboard live action.

I like the authority and direct drawing of these TV doodles -- I'm still struggling to be this fast and accurate when I storyboard. The figures in my boards don't usually look like this. I probably draw better when I'm not worried about the myriad stresses of an actual job...

Here is a great interview with the mighty Alex Toth, (from the Jan. 2001 Comic Book Artist Magazine ), which helped me to not be so precious with my sketchbooks...


  1. Nice drawings, Josh. They look like they could've come from the old Famous Artists course on drawing drapery.

    When I was at Disney, Marc Davis used to recommend sketching from the TV. It seemed like good advice to me. Of course this was back in the late 70s. Any day now I'm going to start doing it, myself.

  2. Thanks Doug- I actually tried sketching from the TV here and there over the years, but nothing clicked, until I read Toth's advice above. And I was happy to finally find Maynard Dixon's sketchbook at a library. His hazy, well designed sketches are a welcome break from the tyranny of the solid inked line of so many of my illustration / comics heroes. I drew these with Supracolor Caran dAche watercolor pencils. They are kind of like Prismacolors, but they never break, even when you sharpen them! Even when the kids draw with them and drop them on the floor six times! Or throw them across the room!

  3. great sketches and post josh. that toth article was what got me into his work all those years ago. i actually wrote him a letter and got some really good tips back.

  4. Hi-

    I stumbled across your blog while searching for sample through all of it, enjoyed it very much, thanks!


  5. Great sketches. I especially love the top one--it really feels like a page taken out of a 40's sketchbook!

  6. Thanks for the comments guys - Marco, I'm curious what tips Toth sent you??