Friday, 20 June 2008


One year and one month ago, to the day, I was feeling frustrated in the midst of my revision period. By that time I would already have spent about a month and a half in revision hiding.

This self-indulgent little comic was the result from the frustration on that day. It managed to cheer me up, and help me laugh at myself.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Coloured leads

There's a fantastic device in the world of leaded pencils. Actually, it's probably not that fantastic, but it did seem like just what I needed when I found out about it.

Messy lines can be quite troublesome sometimes. After a while of searching for the right shapes, it becomes difficult to tell which lines are the right ones any more. Either that, or the pencils tend to end up somewhere between roughs and finished drawings. It becomes difficult to refine the lines since there is too much clutter. Of course, it's possible to rub out the lines and redraw them, but it tends to be time-consuming and sometimes lines don't rub out completely.
This can become a problem when moving on to inks, since there will be times when guesses will have to be made on positions of unresolved lines.

Coloured leads can be used to lay down a rough draft layer before the standard pencils. In a sense, it's similar to having a light box to draw over your roughs, or using digital layers to create different stages of roughs. The coloured rough is easy to make out from normal pencils so the drawing becomes cleaner, which leaves more room for adding significant detail like folds.

Here I've used a pink pencil to draw in the construction lines for the pose before fleshing out the character (and there's little evil/sadistic me giving critique).

There is more detail and design elements in this drawing, so I've used the pink lead to draw most of the character and a rough design for the outfit. The normal pencil is used to refine details in the design and clear up some line/shape issues. If I decide to ink this drawing, I will have nice and clean lines to work with, which means less guessing about to find lost edges.

The brand which I'm using at the moment is Uniball's Color series. The leads come in a variety of colours at 0.5 and 0.7 mm. Pilot also does a series, the Pilot Eno, but they only do 0.7, which I personally find too thick. To date, I still haven't found any colour lead brand that does 0.3, but I'm guessing that there are material limitations to it.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Tube Sketching

London has been my home for the last three years of studying at Imperial College. Not all of this time has been spent as wisely as it could have been. For one, I didn't realise the joy that is tube-sketching until just recently, after listening to one of Bobby Chiu's inspirational podcast episodes.

In less than two week's time my degree will be finished and I'm moving away from London. One of the things tube-sketching has made me realise is that people are all around you (duh), so hopefully I should be able to find unknowing prey wherever I go.

Thanks to Bobby Chiu for telling people about his subway sketching habits in Toronto and for sharing his thoughts on being an artist in general (his podcasts are highly recommended). If you're in the area, he invites anyone to join him.