Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Journey of a Hippo


At the Field Museum in Chicago we bought a small Hippopotamus statue, The other dayI sat down and sketched it with pencil. Afterwards I inked the drawing with a dip pen. I just recently picked one up from Hobby Lobby. I had read that Kazu Kibuishi uses dip pens when inking his comics. I’ve never used a dip pen before and after reading about them I’ve been very curious about how they work and what kind of lines they produce. I picked up a cheap Speedball pen nib holder, some nibs and a thing of Higgins Black India Ink to try it out.

I love the line variation you get with it. It easily flows from a thin little line into a big fat line. I also found that the pen is very unforgiving, it doesn’t take much to get ink all over the place. It’ll take a lot of practice before I’m really used to it.


I scanned the drawing into the computer and made some adjustments in Inkscape. It turned out great. I absolutely love the look of it.


I added some flat color to the drawing in Photoshop. I’m not quite sure how to add color in Inkscape yet. I stuck fairly close to the color of the statue. I referenced “The Elements of Color” by Johannes Itten to help choose the right background color in the next image.


I added a background and some highlights to make the color not look so flat. I don’t have much experience working with color, but I’m very happy with how this turned out. In fact I like it so much I right away printed it out and now it’s proudly pinned to my pushpin board in my study.  🙂

Back To My Exercises

Hand Sketch

It’s been a while since I worked on my exercises from “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. Here I drew a sketch of my hand giving the peace sign. I used the tracing from an earlier exercise as a reference. This was my first time learning to “tone” the paper. It adds a cool element to the drawing, makes it look closer to being lifelike somehow.

Sloth Sketch

I also tried my hand at doing the same thing with my sloth tracing. It’s still not exactly up to my liking, but it’s getting closer.

Indiana Jones Drawings Revisited


I went back and took my drawing of the man going digging and reworked it in Inkscape, I traced it and then did a lot of tweaking. The more I work with Inkscape the more crazy I am about it. I love how easy and seamless it is to adjust the lines.


I did the same with the madman I drew. After I traced the bitmap I was very happy with how it turned out, I did very little tweaking.

You can find the original drawings here.

Vincent van Gogh

I’ve been reading a lot about Van Gogh lately. I came home from the library with a huge ‘ole stack of oversized books about him and his paintings. He quickly has become my favorite artist. I love the colors of his later works. Every time you look at his paintings the feelings and emotions pour out from the canvas. It amazes me how someone with such a tortured personal life painted works that are so bright, so colorful and happy. It was as if he took the sad, misery filled world that he lived in and willed it to be the happy colorful place that we find in his paintings.

I’m also greatly impressed with his brother Theo, he was always there for Vincent, encouraging him, helping him financially and always believing in him. I heard it said and I wholeheartedly agree, “without Theo there would be no Vincent”. Theo was a true brother.

Some of my favorite paintings of Vincent’s are Starry Night Over the Rhone, Bedroom in Arles and my absolute favorite Landscape at Twilight. I love the yellow and orange of the sunset in Landscape at Twilight, it makes me feel warm all over and a strong feeling of contentment comes over me every time I look at it. When I get some extra money I plan on buying a reproduction of it from the Van Gogh museum and put it up in my study.

Reading about Van Gogh’s life I feel so much pity for him, he felt like a failure and yet painted such masterpieces. He worked so hard at everything he attempted whether it be painting or his work as a missionary and yet nothing seemed to turn out right for him. If only he could have seen a glimpse of what would be and how his paintings would touch so many people. I think many times we all feel like that, we all have that overwhelming feeling of failure from time to time. If only we could get a glimpse of what will be and how our lives touch others and move them.



I drew this on the train ride home too. I based it on a candle holder I have of a moose warming himself beside a fire. I bought it at a garage sale, originally intending to give it to a friend, but fell in love with it and couldn’t part with it. Does that make me a bad friend? Look into his eyes and tell me, could you give him up?

I dedicate this post to Epie!