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Art by Wilf – Digital Artist, Cartoonist and Illustrator

Sketch of a Viking warrior using Mischief on iMac

Having recently binged on the first three seasons of Vikings, once again, I decided to have a quick sketch.

This isn’t a specific character. I just wanted to create something that evokes the chaos of battle. As you can imagine the greater work is around the facial expression.

Mischief is superb for just sketching. It loads in an instant and you’re up and running in seconds. It’s super responsive and offers beautiful pencil strokes. It’s just a dream for an artist. Better still, it’s vector based, so all artwork can be exported at any size with the detail maintained.


Vikings’ Lagertha sketched with Corel Painter 17

I’m a huge nerd for norse mythology and the tales of the Vikings. Swords, axes, dragons and various nordic imagery feature heavily in a lot of my more stylised work.

I’m also a massive fan of The History Channel’s Vikings. Currently in Season 5 with Season 6 shooting there’s a ton to get your teeth into. I’m pretty sure that the only remaining character from the first episode of Season 1 is Lagertha. Lagertha, first wife to Ragnar Lodbrok and mother to the adventuring Bjorn, is played by the beautiful actress Katheryn Winnick. Quite how she remains unaged when her babies have become strong men is beyond me, but it takes nothing away from the show.

I sketched this portrait very quickly using a mixture of brushes in Corel Painter.

The Bear and the Bee – Pencil Sketch

I was watching a BBC documentary on polar bears last night. The young bears were a joy to watch as they experienced the arctic wilds for the first time.

So this morning’s warm up sketches are inspired by bears. I opted to sketch a brown bear mesmerised by a bee on its nose.

This was sketched in Corel Painter 2017 using 2B Pencils. I love how the colours blend as I layer the strokes.

I usually always set a paper colour to be off white these days. It helps the whites to stand out. Especially around the eyes and highlights on the shinier surfaces.

As it’s just a concept piece I also opted to only draw the elements that tell the story. There’s no need to draw the arms in full or the bear’s body. Everything is being explained here by the bear’s expression and the way he’s holding his hands in anticipation.

A simple portrait sketch created with Corel Painter and a 2B pencil

I’d love to be a better portrait artist. I almost always seem to rely on lines and maintain a cartoon sensibility about my work.

Sometimes when I see a photo I try and see the light and dark areas independently but almost always fall back to lines. There’s a knack to shading the image that I don’t currently possess.

Anyway, it’s a journey, so I’ll keep trying to improve my techniques.

This pretty lady is somebody I’m connected to on Instagram.

Drawing a cartoon face using the ball technique

In my classes at the The Cartoon Academy I often talk about the ‘ball technique’ for drawing a character’s face.

It’s quite simple in theory but can be a little tricky in practice. Largely because it involves a certain amount of imagining of the features before you draw.

Here’s a 3 step guide to drawing a character’s face using a ball.

First off image that the character’s skull is a ball and choose a direction for them to be looking

The simplest way to imagine this is by holding a white football and drawing two black lines on it.

The first line represents the nose line and the second the eye line.

Something like this.

You can imagine that by turning the ball around you’d see those lines appear different on the surface.

Second, we place the eyes and nose on the ball

For a human character the eyes and nose would be fairly close. On an animal such as a dog or a bear the nose would protrude a little on the end of the snout. So in those cases we draw the nose a little further away from where the lines cross.

Third, and final, we complete the rest of the face

Once the eyes and nose are in place it becomes much easier to draw the complete face.

In the case of a human character the ear would rest on the eye lines.

In many animal cases the ears would sit higher.

Depending on which way the character is facing we’d see more or less of the forehead / chin area.

Here’s a few examples. Most of the characters that I draw use this technique.



A cartoon sketch done using Mischief on iMac

I always loved the art style of the video game Jak and Daxter. Though I haven’t played it in years I remember it had a distinctly Disney feel about it. (Probably due to a number of ex-Disney animators working on the game!)

I recently fired up Mischief and had a play with cartooning in a similar style.

I have my own character, Kyle Comet, who doesn’t really have much of an identity just yet though he’s already appeared in a video game and a young reader’s chapter book. I may just develop him along this theme.

A desktop video of me at work

For this sketch I was using Corel Painter 2017 on an iMac. The brush I used was the Real 2B Pencil. I varied the size of the brush occasionally but none of the other settings. For the most part I was using the pre-defined palette of colours on the left.