Hockey is my passion, and this is my latest hockey art created with traditional and digital media. I drew Eli and Hawke from a hockey story by Xiaq,
Like Real People Do. Her story is based on
Check! Please by Ngozi.
My process minimizes my weaknesses as much as possible.
I have very little experience drawing from life or gesture drawing, so I have to make up for this. I looked for inspiration in videos or gifs. For this drawing, I used a gif of Tom Holland. He’s a dancer, and this character studied dance.
I follow anatomy videos online, but I have never formally studied anatomy. To counter this, I use a body chan figure to recreate the pose. The dog is sculpted from plasticine and obviously the proportions are dreadful. It isn’t too important at this stage.
I know that when I need to add shading and make decisions about contrast, I will make errors in how the light source falls on the three-dimensional figure. I decided on the angle and the light source and used a home-made light box and my iphone to take a picture and evaluate it as a two dimensional representation.
I don’t design the drawing in my head. I can’t ‘see’ things in my head. This is spatial blindness, and it won’t change. I make decisions about composition based on a three-dimensional scene, or I’ll never get the perspective right. I also need a two-dimensional representation, because I can’t imagine one on my own. For this drawing, I took a final picture of the mannequin with two light sources, a bright lamp and ambient light.
The next step could go two ways: I could either print it out and draw a grid on it to use as reference for a sketch on cheap paper, or print it out and draw directly on top of it in heavy black ink. I traced this one.
At this point, I made changes to the anatomy and decided on details. The character I drew is a 5’7″ figure skater. He’s described as beautiful, with loose curls and a Caribbean and Spanish background. I lengthened the thighs, and trimmed the arms and waist. I looked at several reference photos but ended up drawing the face and hair freely. I chose the wrinkles on the clothes carefully; however, the shirt does not drape naturally.
I can be my most creative in this stage of the process. I love this part. Most of it gets erased, but that’s okay. I have to put all my choices down on paper, because I can’t see them in my head. I erase as much as I draw.
I looked at dozens of pictures of dogs for Hawke. I drew her freehand, and drew in a service vest.
Traditional Media Version
Then I used a homemade light box to trace my final drawing onto heavy paper. I made small changes in detail here. The cheap paper is too slippery for my soft Japanese pencils and pills with my Tombow dual brush markers.
Here I drew in details like Eli’s facial features and hair, and Hawke’s fur.
Shading and contrast
I added shading relying heavily on the first reference image from the lightbox.
I’m not happy with how I blended my strokes with these markers. This is the first time I’ve used them. I will definitely practice more. The colours of the pen caps didn’t match very well with the ink colour. Also, the ink colour is significantly darker wet than dry: I had to wait as I went. I went over the lineart with my darkest pen.
I scanned this drawing and imported it as a .png into Adobe Illustrator. I did a live trace, once opting for a fairly coarse and blocky vector image, and again for a black-and-transparent version of the darkest shades and lines. The first image is to mask my poor blending, and the second to cover up my shakey lineart. To what artistic result I leave to the beholder to decide.
I don’t have a tablet, so I made all the changes from the trackpad.
I changed the expression Eli’s eyes with live paint and fixed remaining shakiness in the lineart with the pen tool. I made more changes to Hawke’s anatomy here.
I tried to extend the image at the top for better composition but my impatience shows in the lack of blending in the upper left-hand corner.
I give away my beginner status with the lack of shadows and background, and a lack of colour. For a character sketch, this is okay. For advancing in skill, this is not okay.
The process took about an hour and a half. Impatience is definitely my worst fault as an artist.
Then I messed up the upload links to the original story, argh. I do want to leave my art both anonymous and also linked to the inspiration. In any case, I’ll have to find a better way to do that.
Hockey Art Completed
I’m happy with what I ended up creating, flaws and all. I’d like to make larger sketches and work in more detail, but I’m limited by the size of my scanner. Since I drew this, I got an used ipad pro and an apple pencil. Time will tell if I can get a better result with these. I definitely need practice in these areas:
Fluid, confident lines
Anatomy for drawing
Perspective and background drawing
I’m excited to apply what I learned from this process to drawing hockey players. My goal is to progress to live sketching during games. Hockey art should capture the action.