Carrie Fisher

2016 has claimed some wonderfully gifted people but the loss of Carrie Fisher has struck me hard.

Like so many millions of kids born in the late 60s early 70s Star Wars went a long way to defining who I am in terms of my creative style and vision. The fairy tale set in space with its iconic characters and breath-taking audio / visual stamped a love of storytelling on me that has never faded.

Princess Leia was my first screen love at the tender age of 7. I wanted to be Luke. I wanted to fight like a Jedi and rescue the princess. I wanted so much to craft my own Star Wars adventure and model it around Luke’s quest to save the beautiful Leia from the evil Empire.

Carrie Fisher was, of course, far more than just a Star Wars princess. A hugely gifted lady who had considerable success away from the camera as much as she did in front of it. A talented writer and keen activist she would not stand by so easily in the face of injustice – particularly injustice toward women.

I sketched the image within hours of learning of Carrie Fisher’s death. My own tribute to a beautiful and gifted lady who stood out amongst the Hollywood rabble in so many ways.



Pencil sketch of Roald Dahl’s BFG using Corel Painter X3

This image was drawn using the Velocity Sketcher and a 6B Pencil in Corel’s Painter X3.
I’m using a Wacom Cintiq.

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It’s becoming more important to me to create art digitally that I’m comfortable creating using traditional media. I’m not much of a painter so have reverted back to ink and pencils.

Corel Painter does of course allow me to experiment and make mistakes. But there’s something enormously satisfying about sticking to basic pen and pencil.

Early morning doodling with Mischief

I love the early morning for just relaxing with a sketch. The best sketches for me are the real brain dumps.

I woke this morning thinking of lizards and spiders which is probably why their shapes appear in this sketch.


I used Mischief to sketch the shapes and apply the shading then exported to .psd such that I could apply a Multiply blend in Photoshop to the lowest layer.


It’s not so much that I’m looking for anything in these doodles, more that I just want to wake my brain up. I guess it’s a little like your mind wandering when you’re driving. Probably not such a great thing to admit but I do it frequently. When my subconscious mind is focused the creativity starts to flow!


Digital sketching with Mischief and Wacom Cintiq

For the digital sketcher there really is no finer tool than Mischief, in my opinion. It’s inexpensive, lightweight and packed with the drawing power to produce quality visuals that scale beautifully due to its use of vector rendering.


I’ve written about the merits of cartooning with Mischief before.

My early morning ‘warm up exercises’ generally involve writing or drawing based on first thoughts as I wake. Coffee fuelled scribbling is a favourite dawn activity of mine and I frequently turn to Mischief.

It’s fast, reliable and completely flexible for the artist that just wants to ‘dive in’ and draw.

Today I drew Llamas. Not randomly I hasten to add but as part of a client’s project for a children’s picture book. It’s a fun story and the Llama that stars is a pretty funny if decidedly laid back character.

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For these sketches I drew from a simple reference photo that I’d found on the internet.

On Mac you can hit Cmd+W and Mischief drops into a semi-transparent mode. You can still draw but it shows the window beneath such that you can use it for reference – or trace if you’re so inclined. A neat feature and something I’ve used a great deal.


Semi transparent mode in Mischief

On iMac ( I can’t comment for Windows) there’s little difference to firing up Mischief and drawing in under 3 seconds than opening up a sketchbook and finding a blank page.


Character scale and head heights

I enjoy learning about the terminology employed by animators. Recently I watched Frozen character designer Jin Kim talking about the design of characters from Big Hero 6 and Tangled. He referred to their size in terms of head heights.

I found it interesting and knocked up a quick sketch to reflect my understanding of it all.