Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Star Wars Sketch Cards: First 24

Christmas is bearing down on me and I had to take a break from #DrawWars 2015 in order to make my Christmas card for the year. I got 24 sketch cards done and have 18 more slated to finish. I'm just going to run this out for as long as it takes, so if you have a request for a particular character please leave a comment and I'll be happy to draw it up! To be completed are (in no particular order): Grand Moff Tarkin, Hammerhead, Jaba, R2-D2, Bossk, Yoda, Nein Numb, IG-88, Ponda Boba, Imperial Probe Droid, Ugnaut, Bib Fortuna, Salacious Crumb, Figrin D'an, Max Rebo, and Sy Snootles.

Hope you've enjoyed them as much as I have. Here's the first batch, on which you can click for a larger view. Or check out the individual cards under the Sketch Cards tab above.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Product Review: Blick Studio Brush Markers

This entry is a review of the Blick Studio Brush Markers. For those of you who don't follow this blog, a brief review of my experience and qualifications are in order. I've been a professional graphic designer for over 20 years and a hobbyist cartoonist for about 30. For the last decade I've been exclusively a digital artist but last year I started sketching more traditionally. This year I've done a ton of post-it note marker sketches and more recently sketch cards. (You can click on the tabs above if you'd like to see my work.) I've been limping along with a set of 24 Prismacolor Markers that I've had for years and never used. It was a good set to practice with but it was time to invest in a better set. The set I chose was the 96 Blick Studio Brush Markers pictured here.

I had looked at many different brands and reviews online and Copic kept coming up as the brand to buy but they are super expensive. The argument is made that they are refillable and cheaper over the long haul but having to shell out hundreds of dollars up front to have a decent collection was a big deterrent for me. After using this set of Blick markers this weekend, I'm completely pleased!! 

If you'd like the specific details, here is my comparison to the 24 Prismacolor markers I own and what  I know of Copic.

72 Copic Sketch Markers are around $350
96 Blick Studio Brush Markers cost me $203 ($147 less and I got 24 more markers!)
The argument can be made that the Copics are refillable and therefore cheaper in the long run but so are the Blick. As of yet, Blick doesn't make a refill but the nibs come off just like Copic, so I'll refill them with Copic ink if Blick doesn't have refills yet. With 300+ colors in the Copic line I'm sure I can find a color that's close enough to suit me.

I have not actually used Copic but from what I've seen the Blick markers are VERY similar. The rounded hexagonal body is roughly the same as the oval body of the Copic and a great improvement over the round Prismacolor markers I have. The nibs can be replaced (and ink refilled) which is nice. It feels very comfortable in the hand. I'm use to the Prismacolor fine tip so the brush tip feels very soft and flexible by comparison but I can get greater line variation and feel like I will come to love it more in time. The chisel nib is very firm by comparison and I found myself using it to blend. I like that I can press harder with that end. I also like that the name and color is stamped on both caps for easy identification. Finally, they come in four hard plastic cases that make storing and retrieving the markers easy and neat while I work. Here's a picture of my desk when using Prismacolor (because I had no case).

The ink in the Blick Studio Brush Markers flows nicely and the colors are an uncanny match of the Prismacolor markers. Many have said in online reviews that Prismacolor excels at the pigment of their markers and is the one edge they have on Copic. I found the Blick to go toe to toe with the Prismacolors I own. I was even able to find nearly an identical match for all the colors but True Green.  Here is a chart I made comparing the Prismacolor on the left tot he Blick on the right.  I also made line thickness variations on each side. Chisel nibs on top and fine/brush nibs at bottom. I'm very pleased with the ability to match both the color and quality of the Prismacolors with the Blicks.

Here is a color chart of all the markers in the Blick color line (95 + colorless blender is the full line from Blick at the time I write this)

When it came time to put the markers to the page, I was equally pleased. Colors blended every bit as well as my Prismacolor markers and I have so many colors now it's almost overwhelming! Copic does make something like 300+ colors so that is one area where Blick falls short but I think I can get by with 96 just fine! Here are the 3 sketch cards I completed this weekend using the Blick markers. (click for larger view)

It should also be noted that the Blick markers went right over top Pigma Micron ink with no bleeding, smearing or color changes. Equally important, the Signo white gel pen I used on top did not pick up any of the Blick ink. The whites stayed white.

When making my color chart I noticed that I had a duplicate of Sienna and no Caramel colored marker. I emailed Blick customer service around midnight and they got right back to me the next day and said they were FedExing the missing marker to me immediately and I should have it and 3-4 days! I couldn't be more pleased with how they handled the matter.

All in all, I give the Blick Studio Brush Markers an A+ rating. I hope Blick decides to make official refill inks for these markers (that would be the only down side) but even if they don't, they offer the best value for a hobbyist like myself. They offer professional quality at an affordable price. Now that I know they have great customer service to match I'll be buying more of my supplies from Blick!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Star Wars Sketch Cards: 8-13

Half way through #DrawWars....which means only 18 days left until The Force Awakens opens!


Monday, November 23, 2015

Star Wars Sketch Cards: 1-7

Apparently there's a #DrawWars2015 going on Facebook. I'm not on Facebook, but I found out about it and decided to participate on Twitter. Basically it's do a classic Star Wars character sketch every day, up until Episode 7 opens. I don't really have time for another drawing challenge but it was too good to pass up. Since I've been wanting to try my hand at some sketch cards for a while, I figure this was the perfect opportunity!

Here are my first 7. Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Post-It Note Sketches: Hanna-Barbera

This month I've gotten back into Post-It note sketches. Did a set of Hanna-Barbera and a couple of ranom ones for Sketch Dailies. Topics were #IfIWereAFish and # PutAStacheOnIt! Enjoy!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Inktober 2015: Week 4

Sadly Inktober has come to an end. I had an even better time this year than last year.  A bad cold screwed up the final few days but managed to finish it out and feel pretty good about the month as a whole. Here's the final week of sketches.  Please visit the tab at the top to view to complete run of 2015 Sketches! Thanks.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Inktober 2015: Week 3

This post encompasses all the Inktober drawings I did between the last update and now. In that time period I redrew the Dr. Bunsen Honeydew/Dr. Octopus Mashup because I thought I could do better.  Actually, I think I could do better on all of these but working analog you get to see all my mistakes.  More accurately you DON'T get to see all the undos and image re-scaling that goes on when I work digital. Thank God for digital!

As always, thanks for stopping by and please click on the image if you'd like to see a larger view.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Last Resort: Smoked Meat

I've had this panel of The Last Resort half finished since the summer. Finally got around to coloring it...Mooncheese even makes a cameo in this one!

Inktober has snapped me out of my funk and I hope to be making more of these, as well as getting back on Issue 2 of The Caped Sphincter. Hope you all are doing well!

Please click on the image for a larger view and if you like it please share or click on the gallery tab above to see more. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Inktober 2015: Week 2

I've just wrapped up the 11th day of Inktober 2015 and I'm pretty pleased so far. I'm getting more comfortable with the brush pen which was the plan. I've also gotten some good ideas which has been a nice surprise. I'll refine them later for a few panels of The Last Resort. Crowd reaction has varied from piece to piece but generally well received. My personal favorite is Hairy Goatdini, The Escape Goat. He's begging to be made into a permanent character.

I'v also been surprised by how many artists are doing Inktober this year. I don't know if it's just because I follow more people on Twitter now or what but the quality of work has been amazing....very inspiring stuff!  Makes me think I should focus more on refining my ink skills, than coming up with a gag every day....after all it is called INKtober.

We'll see...I'm still going with whatever inspires me each day and hoping someone enjoys it.

Please enjoy this week's art and for more, visit the tabs above. Follow me @MesyComics on twitter for daily updates. Thanks!