Elephant Drawing Packet

Elephant Drawing Packet. I’ve just made my "How To Draw Elephants" packet available on my brand new website at creatureartteacher.com Please got to my website and go into the Digital Downloads section. Ive added new pages to everything you need to know about drawing elephants! In the coming weeks I’ll also be making available animated walk cycles for you up and coming animators out there! Thanks so much for your support!!

My website is up and running!!!!

Hey everyone! My website is up and running!!!! I’ve still got a lot of stuff to do to it and products to add but it’s a start. Stay tuned for digital downloads on "How to draw elephants" "How to draw big cats" and various other "How to’s…" in the coming months. I’ll also have painting tutorial videos for purchase and giclee prints of both my animal art and fantasy art! Also, Jonelle and I have teamed up in creating jewelry with tiny original animal paintings of mine. Please, please, please spread the word as I still don’t have my social media sharing buttons set up yet! I hope you enjoy! http://creatureartteacher.com/ http://www.creatureartteacher.com/ creatureartteacher.com

“Gull Sketch” oil on panel

Here is a brand new commission I just finished for a private client. It’s called "Mara River Hippo" 24"X48" oil on canvas. [email protected]

I first start with a digital comp done in Photoshop. This allows me to quickly play with my composition and easily adjust color and staging.
I next grid the digital sketch and my canvas for easier drawing transfer. After that I do a quick oil wash of yellow ochre and burnt umber to establish my rough value structure and to get rid of the white of the canvas.

Next I start laying in color starting with my darks working lighter. I also like to work sectionally, going from section of canvas to section of canvas and basically roughing each section in. I then go back later and unify all of the sections with color.

Adding the water highlights on the hippo was a good boost for me. I get bored easily and getting to see the hippo look wet and start to come to life gets me excited to keep pushing.

Here I’m starting to lay in the rapids of the river. This was very daunting but I stayed focused on thinking about the water’s form, paying close attention to value and temperature of my color and I stayed loose…but not sloppy…there’s a difference.

Starting to get the sky reflections done on the water. It’s starts to come alive at this point.

I found that I could stay fairly loose with the water then add details that would bring it all together. Small splash droplets and sun glints went a long way.

The water cascading over the hippo’s back and the foreground water was  very dependent upon paying attention to the form of the water and portraying the water’s reflections of it’s surroundings according to that form. This is how the wave feel is achieved.

“Mara River Hippo” 24″X48″ oil on canvas

Sandhill Crane incubating eggs. Ink and watercolor sketch done from life.

So Jonelle and I went up to Clermont in central Florida to visit with family. They live on a small lake. Just off shore right in their back yard they have a pair of Sandhill Cranes nesting. I went out on their dock and did an ink and watercolor sketch of this beautiful bird as it incubated two eggs. He or she was a wonderful model, never moving. I painted this on Aqua board which is a clay based material on board. For you artists out there, if you’ve never tried Aqua Board I highly recommend it. It took the watercolor beautifully and is a wonderful surface to paint on. 

6 paintings I have in inventory

These are 6 paintings I have in inventory at the moment and am selling. These are the actual frames on the pieces. I can give prices upon request via email.

“The Matriarch” 46″X62″ framed dimensions oil on board Sold

“Savannah Gold” 40″X70″ framed dimensions – oil on canvas (Please disregard the cardboard corner protectors on the bottom of the frame)
“Ring Billed Gull” 23.5″X35.5″ framed dimensions – oil on canvas

Low Tide” 48.5″X60.5″ framed dimensions

“Bedding Down – Bison” 35.5″X45.5″ framed dimensions – oil on canvas
“Feathers and Light – Ring Billed Gull” 27″X33″ framed dimensions –  watercolor on paper

The Painting That Inspired Brother Bear

This was an oil painting I did back in 1994 after returning from my first painting trip to Alaska. I used this painting as part of my pitch to get the job making Brother Bear. It’s called "Spring Runoff" 30"X48" oil on canvas

“Spring Runoff” oil on canvas 30″X48″

The first thing to do when beginning any animated scene is to thumbnail. Thumbnailing is to do little drawings exploring the posing and acting of a character in a scene. Here are some from early in my career.

In the movie Beauty and the Beast one of the sequences I animated was Beast in front of the fireplace having been wounded by the wolves. Belle is trying to clean his wounds and they get into a fight. I spent three weeks figuring out the sequence before doing any animation. I did piles and piles of thumbnails working closely with Glen Keane.

Continue reading The first thing to do when beginning any animated scene is to thumbnail. Thumbnailing is to do little drawings exploring the posing and acting of a character in a scene. Here are some from early in my career.

Old Animation Design Drawings

In packing my home, I’ve come across some old animation design drawings I’ve done over the years. These particular drawings are from Aladdin, The Lion King, Mulan, and Brother Bear

These are a few life drawings I did of tigers in preparation for creating Rajah from Aladdin

The next few were from early in the design process

Here is where I finally hit the design that ended up in the film.

These are few life drawings I did from lions that were brought into the studio at the beginning of production on The Lion King

These next few sets of drawings I did were from the design process of creating Young Nala

These drawings are from creating the Ancestral Ghosts from Mulan

These were little pen and marker thumb-nails I created in trying to find different compositions for a mountain climbing scene in Brother Bear.

The Legend of Tembo – Here are some concept paintings and character designs I created during the Development of The Legend of Tembo

These images are from a film I was co-directing called “The Legend of Tembo”. I am always deeply involved in the design of the films I am directing. I try to create the images that I am trying to explain to people on the crew. I feel it is much better to show than to explain. It gives a clearer picture to the Art Director, modelers, lighters, and animators. This cuts down tremendously on the number of iterations needed to achieve whatever it is we are shooting for this in turn eases the impact on the budget of the film.

Legend of Tembo Pencil Test

Here is a pencil test I did early in the development of “The Legend of Tembo”. I wanted the riggers and animators to see what I had in my head as far as movement and personality for young Tembo:


Here are a few old Mulan designs I found…

Here are a few drawings from when I was doing some design work at that beginning of Mulan. I ultimately was the supervising animator for Yao and the Ancestors but I helped on a number of different things in the beginning. These were a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed the charcoal. This is not even a fraction of the hundreds of drawings I did.

Here is a new oil painting I just completed as a commission for a private client. I’ve included a step by step process. .

It starts with me doing a digital comp in photoshop. I can easily work out all of my compositional problems at this stage.

I then print out my image and grid it so that transfer to the large canvas is quicker and easier. I grid the canvas the same way and begin to transfer the drawing.

Ugh!! A blank canvas…such a long road ahead!

Beginning to draw in charcoal pencil. I use charcoal pencil so that I am able to produce details in the drawing. I like to get as much information in the drawing as possible before I start to paint. Notice the grid on the canvas.

Continuing on the drawing…

The finished rough sketch on the canvas. Although I want a fair amount of detail in the drawing, I’m not trying to make it look pretty at this point.

This next step is very important to me. After sealing the drawing with Final Fixative, I then tone the canvas with an underpainting. I like to rough in the basic color of what the objects in the painting will ultimately be. I do this for two reasons: 1. If for some reason I neglect to cover a small portion of canvas, I won’t have glaring white showing through, but most importantly, 2. It knocks the white of the canvas down into the midtone range. When painting on a midtone you can more easily judge the lights and darks that you’re applying.

Now it’s time to start painting. Here I’ve started with the face of the male lion.

I continue into the mane. Notice that I apply my darks first then work lighter.

As the head of the lion began to develop, I felt it was time to start laying in the background to get the lion to sit in it’s environment.

I then jump back to the lion and continue with the mane and roughing in his body.

Here I’ve gone back to the background to lay in more savannah. Also, notice that I’m starting to build up color and texture, particularly in the body of the male lion. When I rough in an area, I like to let it set for a day or two and dry. I then can start to scumble other colors over the roughed in area. I particularly like to play with color temperature at this stage. This builds volume, texture, color and just generally makes the area more interesting to look at.

After adding more texture and interest to the background, it’s time to start work on the lioness.

I continue working on the lioness, but I’m also starting to jump around the painting at this point. Colors going into the lioness will get scumbled into the male’s body and vise versa. I’m also continuing with the mane.
Here I’ve finished with the lioness and have gone onto the finishing touches in the foreground and background grasses.

Here I am putting some of the finishing touches on the grasses. I particularly like this shot because it shows off the texture of the painting itself. I like paintings to have brush and paint texture. I actually like to run my hands over the painting after it’s dry.

Here I’ve posed with the painting thinking I was done. The next day though after looking at it, I decided to add a few more darks in the tall sprigs of dried grass.

“Protecting the Queen” 36″X48″ Oil on Canvas

I painted this Great Blue Heron after waking this morning and watching him from my bedroom balcony. It’s painted in CS6 and I’ve included the steps taken in producing it.

I start with a warm midtone back ground.

I then add a level and set it to multiply and add various textures. This will come in handy when I paint the algae covered rocks.

Here I’ve created another level and have roughed in the drawing. It’s important to have good reference!

Here I’ve created yet another level and set it to multiply to retain the texture underneath and roughed in the local color.

Here I’ve created a level under the drawing layer and layed in the basic water color and value.

This was a slight adjustment, but I didn’t like the angle of the head so I brought it down a little and fixed the beak. I also lightened the body of the heron a bit.

Now it’s time to start roughing in color. It’s also the stage where I start to pull out some of the detail.

I continue this on the rocks. I also roughly lay in the color for the dead grasses.

Here I’ve created another layer for laying in final details. I go back and forth between my rough color layer and my final detail layer constantly.

At this point I felt it was time to lay in the water. Water is a tricky, subtle thing. It takes lots of observation to understand how the reflections, and lighting of water works. It can get away from you very easily.

Here I went back to my final detail layer and continued on with the heron and the rocks.

Here I finished things off by working out the grasses. I also darkened the bottom of the piece to balance it out a little better.
I intended the piece to look as if the heron was fishing but I felt it still lacked a little of the “story” aspect to it, so I added the ripples of a fish just having hit the surface.

Here is a new Photoshop creation and the steps taken to create it.

I start with my rough sketch on it’s own level on a mid tone background.

I then lighten the rough sketch, then create a new layer and refine the drawing.

Next I create a layer under the drawing layers and lay in my local color. Local color is the color of an object in neutral lighting.

I then create a new layer on top of the local color layer but under the drawing layers. I set it to multiply, pick a cool, blue gray and begin to lay in my shadows. I imagined the light to be straight up out of frame. It’s important to really think about the form at this stage.

I now add a layer on top and start to lay in my light areas. I generally grab the local color with the eyedropper then lighten and warm the color for the lights.

Here I create a new layer under the light layer but above the drawing layer. I set it to multiply and begin to lay in the deep darks. I’m constantly going back and forth between light and dark to let the image develop evenly. I’ve also added a layer of reflected light. It can be seen under the nose and some of the branches.

I often like to add a secondary light source. It adds interest and helps describe the form more.

Here I’ve continued with my deeper darks and I’ve started to lay in some mottling in the skin around the eye.

This stage is fun. I take many digital photos of my face and rough wood. I then grab sections of those photos and lay them over the painting. I drop the opacity and increase the contrast so that the painting will show through but still have the texture above it. Here you can see I’ve layed in the facial and wood textures. It’s subtle but goes a long way. I also go back in above the texture layer and define the highlights even further.

Here I’ve decided a wanted a very realistic eye. I took a picture of my own eye then lassoed it and dragged it over and added it to the illustration.

At this point I felt it was time to add a background. I grabbed a section of a photo I had in my collection of a flower garden and dragged it over and blurred it. I then added a subtle layer of light rays.

Here I’ve added a layer of particulate in the air and started to play with the focus. I’ve also added a layer of out of focus foliage in the foreground.

Next I combine all of my layers. Be sure to do this as a copy so that you can retain your original layers. Then on my combined layer I start to color dodge some of the highlight areas to give it a hotter feel.

The finishing touch is adding a layer of grunge texture set to multiply. I like the feel that it gives the illustration.

A new character design done today in Photoshop.

A new character design done today in Photoshop.

I’ll be teaching my techniques for doing character pieces such as this for film at the Photoshop World Conference in Orlando, Florida, April 17-19.  photohopworld.com