Happy Ganesha Chaturthi

I had the pleasure of getting to know Satish Ruia when we went to India.  He is the most graceful host.  And Ganesha is his favorite god.  He is the elephant-headed, remover of obstacles and the god of beginnings and wisdom.  

There are some important symbolism in Ganesha stature.  His large head symbolize thinking big, while his small eyes symbolize concentration.  The rope on his left hand removes obstacle.  The sweets on his lower left hand is the reward of a wise life.  His large ears means he listen more.  The ax on his right hand cut unhealthy attachments.  He only have one tusk, because he sacrifice one for a good cause.  And he bless those in the right path with his lower right hand.  His large belly means contentement, for the good and the bad.  The banana symbolize material wealth when you pursue the right path and the whole world is at your feet for your asking.  The mouse symbolize desire that can cause havoc if you don’t keep it under control.

Hope your having a great Ganesha Chaturthi!


I see no point in just drawing what’s in front of me. Drawing is about making decisions, no matter what. Using lines or paint or any tool is a decision by itself. How you use these tools is personal as well.

I’ve always been interested in using life drawing to compliment and adapt to what I’m interested in (animation/character design/storyboarding). I feel like most of the design and animation principles I know can, and should be reflected into my life drawings. Same goes for life drawing instructing how I approach my “regular work”. In a perfect world, they should all inform each other. Easier said than done.

The problem that I’ve always had is time constraint. It’s easy to say: “think about line of action, squash & stretch, silhouette, volume, caricature, anatomy, weight, etc when you draw from life.” It’s especially hard to think about and apply those principles in real-time, in poses ranging from 30 seconds to 10 minutes.

My simple answer is: “Do as much as you can given those time constraints.” But, really, find what’s most important, and then build from it. For example, it’s impossible to apply a ton of critical thinking when sketching poses in 30 seconds. In 30 seconds, you should be able to at least draw a quick gesture, without worrying about details and specific anatomy too much. The more time you have, the more principles you should be able to apply. Most basic principles should be reflected in a 5 minutes pose for example. At 10 min, a more fleshed-out, toned version is something that can be achieved.

Honestly, there shouldn’t be any benchmarks, but you should always try to aim for something, even if it’s one principle, within each pose. Sometimes, a certain model (or real-life situation) might inspire you to explore a specific principle.

The more you do it, the more certain things will become second-nature. You can then apply more layers to your work and make it shine.

Thank you for this wonderful question. It’s a the core of what my mind is going through these days. There’s more to be said about how to balance figure drawing and design, but I will continue to explore this idea in upcoming Tuesday Tips.


Yes, I only use a “Conte Stick” when I do nude life drawing. I feel more comfortable with the stick because of its versatility in line thickness and the ability to apply different pressure to different strokes. I usually use a flatter side of the stick to shade or express a surface. A thinner, crisper line is more direct so I use it to approach more precise features. Overall, a combination of both gives me the best results. Also, when drawing clothed figure, I tend to use more ink-based tools. Somehow, I don’t need as much line variety and pressure when drawing something that’s already complex (A figure clothed in various types of clothes, all interfering with each other).

When I draw a character from my imagination, I’ll often use an ink pen, ink brush pen, pencil, or Col-Erase pencils. Digitally, I tend to stick to a brush or two. I need limits when drawing digitally, to keep it coherent and honest.


To be completely honest, I don’t own that many “anatomy” books.  The few that I still look at from time to time are:

-Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist (Stephen Rogers Peck)
-ANY book by George B. Bridgman (Constructive anatomy, etc.)
-(Weirdly enough): Strength Training Anatomy
-and also the Art of Animal Drawing (Kent Hultgren)

Every other books I use are more geared towards animation or just collection of drawings from famous artists. I love trying to figure out how they express the same thing I’m looking at through their own methods. Famous artists like Klimt, Egon Schiele, J.C. Leyendecker, Frazetta, Henrich Kley, etc.

I hope that answers your question.

***Do you have suggestions? (anatomy books)

SDCC 2014 sketches

Last batch of sketches from the San Diego Comic Con.


Life Drawing 08/07/14

Very athletic model. It’s rare to see such definition and shapes on female life drawing models. A treat.


Tuesday Tips — Recommendation - On Writing (Stephen King)

This is my favorite how-to book about writing and getting things done. I own it as an audiobook, and I’ve listened to it at least 3 times. Not because I felt I needed to, but because it is as engaging as it is inspirational. There’s no superficial crap or fancy rules about the high and mighty art of writing in this book. It’s called “A Memoir of the Craft” because King approaches this book from his own true and tested experiences and remarkable work ethic. He goes in details about the nuts and bolts of the reality of writing everyday. He really makes you feel the day-to-day obstacles and successes of tackling a hard creative task. 

I recommend “On Writing” to any aspiring or working creative artist, especially writers, directors and story artists.


My favorites, sweet lady Snoopy and my ivory rockstud.  The most comfortable pump I own.  They come in so many different color and I want them all.

At Anifest India with the student volunteer worker #Mumbai #TASI #anifestindia

Tuesday tips — take a break and do something different.

We are taking a break from posting sketches, paintings and Tuesday tips drawing while we are in India. We might post some photos…. We will see….. Sometimes it’s good to break your schedule and do something different, it keeps it exciting. And that’s our Tuesday tips of this week.

Griz and Norm


Going to India for 2 weeks.  We’re invited by The Animation Society of India(TASI) to AniFest India 2014.  We will be in Mumbai for our presentation on August 21 and 22.  Hope to see you there!


Griz and Norm