I talk to a lot of people who believe they can NOT draw. I tell them - that I couldn't draw either. It's true. A number of years ago - I really could not draw. BUT. I wanted to draw.

Wanting and needing to draw will really make the difference. I picked up a 'real' sketch book back in 1988, and got started. Oh sure - I had lined paper or miscellaneous doodles on place mats and phone pads here and there. Now, I had a real sketch book - and I began to fill it. Practice is the key. I carried those sketch books everywhere, and drew in them constantly.

These pages chronicle Jandari - a favorite character of mine - and an old one. I'm not proud of the first few pictures - not now - but at the time I was. Please keep in mind that these are sketches from old books meant to be just for fun - for me. Many of them are not finished, and often they are light pencil lines (and hard to see - sorry) just to give movement and characterization. Of course, some are well finished. The idea is to show you the progression. The fact that if I can do it, you can do it too.


This is my first sketch book. It's from 1988.

While you can see the character, those ears and those eyes drive me crazy today. Still, the ears I know came from me ElfQuest influence at the time - although the character is a Tolkien elf.

1989

Jandari with Keemara. Trying to move the bodies around, and put two figures together.

1989.

I use to go through more than one book a year.

Stiff, but trying to put in some background.

1989

Jandari from the 50's. Kinda like a Halloween costume.

1989

Here he is with his crown on. He was the first elvin King.
Still have the big ears.

1989

I have obviously become more aware of the muscles of the body and am trying to learn them. This will continue to haunt me.

1989

See? 6 books in one year. That's a whole lota drawing. They are not small books.

The eye-patch is from an alternate world game that my players encountered one game. It sounded interesting, so I drew it.

1990

Long face, long ears. Yet, still recognizable.

1990

This was the pencils for something that got finished for an art show. By this time, I was certainly putting things up in shows.

1990

Jandari and Karrac. My dragons are not so good - yet I liked drawing them, so I did. The joy of sketch books is that there is nothing in them that is wrong or bad - they are all just sketches and doodles for your own enjoyment.

1990

Here is some movement. The ears are beginning to calm down - thank goodness.

1990

This was finished for my own enjoyment - not meant for anything. Jandari and his dragon motif.

1991

I am obviously still struck back and forth with the ears, but the lines are getting smoother - more confident.

1991

Here is the same idea from last year. Jandari and Karrac. Here is the perfect case for how I am improving.

1991

This is me trying to loosen up my figures. Being too posed and stiff, I want them to relax a bit. This is a little exaggerated, but again this is me looking through the books for Jandari pictures. Not all of them are going to be gems - some pictures in the book are better than others.

1991

I still like this picture. That tends to be rare amongst artists - to like something that is so old.

Also, I am beginning to find some nice reference pictures to help with the poses, and that tends to make the pictures turn out better than if I am just 'winging it'.

1991

Personality. An artist should strive for being able to draw pretty as well as angry. This has a good emotional communication (even if Jandari is usually a happy guy).

1992

The pace of the sheer number of drawings is starting to slow up a bit. I am starting to spend more time on each picture (I think)

This one I think I did with a girl's reference. The waist is interesting - there are guys who have them.

1992

This picture was more me 'winging it' The hair is a bit big - but I think that happens with Jandari.... The ears are more normal, the eyes are better, and I am still playing with the muscle sets.

1992

Well, this is getting better.

1992

This Jandari has a great chin line. I am obviously taking some time and working around the eyes. There is personality and grace in this piece.

Is this IT? Is this the moment that I consider myself an Artists (with a capital 'A')? No. That never seems to crystalize.

1992

This one was done for personality. To put some more joy in the lines.

1993

Now, I am much more relaxed with the character. Here is some more expression - but the loose lines make me think it was a just a quick sketch of someone familiar.

1993

Whoops, did I mention that things that happen in my D&D game, often turn up in my sketch books. Here he is in a pickle - game wise.

I like the way they fit together. I think I ought to practice that more often.

1993

Playing with his hair and costume. Again, campaign bits slip into sketches - here he has a Master's Knot around his neck.

1994

Are you bored of my Jandari yet? Here he is a bit more fancy - going out on a date. Details will often make or break a picture. I am practicing doing more of them, trying to figure out what fits in my style and hands.

1994

A quick sketch - triangle hands and feet just to give space to them. They are not drawn as finished lines, just as place holders. This is an example of artists shorthand - not meant to be finished or have your eye linger on them, but there for space sake. This is just a little sketch - a quickey.

1995

I am pretty confident of my 'skills' as an artist. I enjoy drawing, and do a lot of it.

This little sketch has immediate emotional impack - even if it's a little quick sketch.

1995

This is a more finished sort of sketch. Dropping a bit of background on it. Not meant to be made into art work, but made with all the bits and pieces that finish a work.

1995

This is a starting sketch for a finished piece of artwork. It has movement ideas, background, and design elements. You can't really tell it's Jandari - but it has his elements in it.

This is the year I quit my day job to become an artist as a profession. Is this the moment where I became an artist? Well, technically, yes - but not really.
1996

Yikes! This sketchbook is missing. Now I'm not sure what happened. It's either a miss-numbered problem (which is what I think happened) or it's lost. This is the year that I had a baby - so if it is a real missing book - I forgive myself.

I think I'll just say it's in some FBI files somewhere....

1997

Here I am playing with shading and more design work. This wasn't done for a finished piece - but as practice.

1997

A quick sketch, just kinda visiting with the character. He's sorta looking out at me. Let me get all defensive and say that this is a timeline of Jandari sketches and sometimes, he didn't show up very often and sometimes there were lots of sketches to choose from. This book, there wasn't that much of him here.

1998

This book makes the 10th year of collecting my art up in sketch books. Not that I took any particular notice in the book. I think I have a tendency to go more by the book number than the date.

Well, the work is much more recognizable as mine today - although there is more room to move.

1999

This sketch is obviously a quick one.

1999

Here I am playing with the limbs. It's not meant to be graceful - but it was meant to be finished.

2000

Found a really interesting artist - and was enjoying her style of clothing and decoration. I wanted to try it out on my own. Trying things out and playing this way makes me expand and hopefully - makes my work better.

2000

The sketch books are alot more steady now. With me doing art for finished work - a lot of sketches are finished on paper and not in a sketch book. I no longer have a sketchbook at hand at all hours of the day (although it is still always at easy hand).

I think this sketch was done in conjunction with many little head-shots of my campaign characters.

2001

This picture came out really nice. It has his coat, and his personality. It is 'presented' yet still relaxed. And since it's not too old - I still enjoy it.

2002

This pictures was done to play with body angles. It is a 'winging it' picture and thus I feel was fairly successful.

2003

A quicky, but obviously Jandari.

2003

This is Jandari's family. He did wind up with Keemara from the picture back in 89. Having fun with a bit of drama and adding lotsa characters together.

2004

Quick and comfortable. Interesting, this is a picture with the 'no pupil' thing that happens so often in my art. You can really tell a finished sketch from a doodle when the pupils are filled in. Jandari always seems to have his eyes.

So here I am today. See how far I've come? You can do this too.

2004

Jandari has a new son. Sketches are just sketches - sometimes they get really worked up, and sometimes they are just my own little shorthand jots to myself. Sometimes, I look and realize that I am not really working these sketches into finished work.

2005

This one I called storytime. In my game, he's going back to some draconic roots. Isn't he just looking so happy and nice? I really am enjoying the fact that his personality comes through.

2005

Got your tail! This sketch was just a quicky, but (obviously) I really like it. I wonder what happens next?

2006

I always picture him as a forest elf, so up in the trees and with leaves Jandari gets drawn. I should mention that these are just sketches in my books, nothing finished or polished.

2006

Whoops! Drawing sword and looking hauty - something is obviously going on!

2007

Love this collar! Interestingly, I am obviously happy with the level of sketching I am doing, as my style hasn't really moved in a while.

2007

Here he is in the trees again. I like the casual-ness of this picture. I really need to do something more elaborate and close, but I enjoy the quick powerful sketches.

2007

Yeay! Pussywillows. There use to be a huge bush in the backyard when I was growing up. I think we plundered it too heavily. Here is Jandari with some sprigs.

2008

Every once in a while, I feel the need to add backgrounds against the characters. This was one of them. The pose has Jandari looking down, and it just seemed natural to put him in the trees.
Gotta try and grow a little more. These drawings are becoming too much alike.

2008

Jandari's coat is made of white dragonleather. It's one of his touchstones. So, I had to draw him with it on. Got those great shoulder details that I think of as elvin too.

2008

Jandari does like to be in the trees - he's all elf after all. In this picture, I think he's bird watching from above.

2008

More trees. Here he is with his wife, Keemara. Sometimes it's hard to fit two characters together. You want them really to interact with each other, not merely be two figures drawn in the same space. I think it works well here. Their bodies make room for each other.

2009

I like this one. The angle is different.

2009

Well, it must be warm where he is. Some forest beach. Not a perfect picture, but it's a sketchbook pictures and I really do like it.

2009

ladeeda. Just sitting in a tree. Again. I betcha they talk to him.

2009

Hmmm, lotsa sketchbook this year. This is the fourth one. And, now - of course - I've started the next book.

Here's Jandari in the trees. I like the weight that is hanging on the branch.

You can tell this is a sketch - it's got no pupils penciled in. For some reason, pupils are the last thing that get into pictures and often they don't get put onto sketches at all.

2009

Now he's talking to fish! He's so versitile.

2010

I like the just catching him kicking around sketches.
In this case, he's got the rotating leaf crown that nature has given him. Sometimes he likes it, sometimes he waves his hands over his head to chase away all the leaves.

2010

Well, leaning against the trees again. His leaf crown he sweeps away when he notices, but nature still puts it up when he's in the woods. Which is often. He has probably given up trying at this point.

2010

Yup. I love the tangle of arms and messy hair. Very sexy.
It occurs to me that I am losing the idea of this thread. The Think You Can't Draw is becoming lost within the pictures of Jandari through my skechbooks. Hmmm. Maybe this is is just a series of evolving pictures. Still, I like it.

2010

It's the motion of invitation. Here is the world, come and enjoy.
Normally, I seem to draw him in trees. In this case, he's seen from above.

2010

Here's my sweetie again - with the love of his life.
The interaction of the two of them together is marvelous. It's hard to get two figures together naturally. You have to deal with the sizes of hands and faces - I can mostly get the bodies without trouble.

2011

Tamberlain loves his Dad.
Doing children is sometimes a challenge for me. I do like to have a nice reference picture before I get stated. Size and comfort of the two figures is what I am going for here.
You can see that I am still not filling in the pupils. They are just sketches.

2011

Sometimes they are just quickies. I go through so many sketchbooks at times, that I need to make certain he squeeks in on a page. Yeah - it's not hard.

2011

Jandari with his dragon, Karrac in the back. They look dynamic don't they?

2011

Here's another rough sketch. I hope you 'speak sketch' by now. I wanted to put out just something with un-refined movement in it.

2012

Here he is in a tree - again. I put Karrac at the base of the tree looking up at him. There's no real rhyme or reason to what I am doing with these. I think it's just a comfortable with the character.

2012

Totally having fun with the feet. Just a free-form drawing in a sketchbook. More fun the finished.

2013

Okay, playing with tilting the body form. Found a really sexy reference pose, not the sort of thing I usually draw him in. I wanted to try.

2013

Getting the sword out. Personally, I love the shirt peel back behind his head look. I wonder how the floating leaves managed not to get caught in the shirt?

2013

A yo-yo, really? It's amazing the sorts of things I do when I am just messing around.

2014

I totally love this! Majestic. The tree branches that are at his back, the drapery, his floating leaf crown, and all the energy of the mist at his feet.
I want to do this as a painting - but I need something else going on in the picture rather than him just standing there.

2014

This is done in a slightly different style. The head shape is what I was experimenting with. It's different than my normal style, but I still like it.
I really like the trees too.

2014

Lying down, looking worried about something
I've done so many verticle pics, as that's the way my sketchbook is structured, but every once in a while - I need to turn the book sideways.

2015

Playing with Copic markers and the lighting on faces. I really adore the way the shadows cross the face. It's a loose sketch, but really happy with it.

2015

There is passion between them. They had a rough time this year. Tiamat killed Keemara, and he had a lot of instrospection.

2015

Growing as an artist, I have pulled out the graphite powder. Of course, I need to Jandari.

2015

My 80th sketchbook.
Here he is, loosely drawn, but all commanding and cool. I was playing with the lines.

2016

There is some powerful emotion here, even if you can't see his face. I've been looking into what to communicate with my art lately - design, emotional, narrative and tecnique.

2016

kinda beefcakey - but I like him leaning against his dragon.

2017 maybe 2016

When I was a kid, not that many girls liked Dragons. This has canged, I can't count how many ladies I've met are dragonladies. This picture is for us.