06 May 2007

Airborn

I just finished Airborn, Kenneth Oppel's first book after his Silverwing trilogy. It's got airships and pirates and swashbuckling good times ... and apparently a reluctance to give up flying mammals, but who can begrudge him that? Anyway, it was fun, so I drew stuff:

(left) Main character, Matt Cruse, looking kind of bland, but that's more or less how he looked in my head ... and that's why I'm not a design star.

(right) Kate de Vries, leading lady, who makes me wonder about Mr Oppel's wife because she's very much like Marina in Silverwing. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm majorly ripping off some Jane concept art but it turned out nice anyway! Yay me! (No telling how many really awful sketches came before this one...) There's a girl at work whose 'look' I want to capture for her...


A thumbnail for the scene where they're offloading rubber hosing ... it looks cool in my head, trust me. Mostly dependent on colour, though. The composition needs a little finessing before I go that far.


Szpirglas, the pirate captain. After overcoming my tendency to picture him as Reacher Gilt, I realized I could base him off a family friend who fits the description rather well, but these were drawn before the realization, and I'm not sure I have any reference pictures. He could also look a bit like the author, but I don't know what Mr Oppel would think of that. Doesn't look very captainly here, or very piratey for that matter... More attempts later, perhaps.


The book is punctuated with occasional dream sequences in which Matt is flying, so I brought in a bit of the climax and stuck him with a flock of cloud cats ... apparently I can't get over Silverwing either.

Now for some moaning: Every day at work I draw what I would consider decent drawings. Admittedly, they're mostly poses in rotations, but they're solid and confident. I've even taken to doing rotations on paper instead of the Cintiq to keep me in touch with a pencil (and also because it's faster... and better). I get home, though, and open my sketchbook with pencil in hand, and what comes out looks and feels like the stuff I forcibly excreted in the midst of my rough storyboard-induced drawing decay period last summer. What do I need to change? I've been out drawing observational stuff more than ever this year but that hasn't seemed to have helped, it just seems to have made me impatient with my drawings so they're all really haphazard and gestural and I don't bother to get things right.

EDIT 21 MARCH 2009: What is up with this post? How is it getting so many comments? Does it turn up on a Google search or something? Could someone please tell me what is going on?

EDIT 14 NOVEMBER 2009: Thanks to those who commented with info regarding the traffic on this post! Interesting.

33 comments:

Sean Covernton said...

That Kate character is absolutely gorgeous. Awesome drawing. Damn you and so forth.

Alina Chau said...

V coool characters!!

kadianimate said...

now i want to read this book! I had never read silverwing and i just started it and i like it a lot.

+ i saw your storyboards. They were really good! Hope to god you don't see mine... they were BaaaDDD

Chilly said...

love your drawings!!!!

alissa said...

i love your drawings!!and i beleive that if you drew your kate a little older she would seem like miss.simpkins!

Anonymous said...

i think szpirglas has a rounder head then that, but that's just me. thats what i thought the cloud cats looked like too.

Anonymous said...

someone needs to make a movie out of it, I love this book so much!

Anonymous said...

someone needs to make a movie out of it, I love this book so much!

Anonymous said...

someone needs to make a movie out of it, I love this book so much!

Anonymous said...

Very good drawings!! Kind like how I pictured the characters with a hint of Disney. LOVE IT!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great pictues! I just finished reading "Skybreaker" also by Kenneth Opel. An amazing yet adventurous book packed with action and all sorts of excitement. I just drew what I think Matt Cruse should look like and I'm about to draw Kate. :) NIce drawings and you should read Skybreaker; quite amazing.

Anonymous said...

I loved your Kate drawing! i couldn't ever picture her in my head until i saw that drawing! My Matt image was a little more detailed, but of course, that;s just me. Awesome work! I hope you do some for the sequels too.....
Keep it up! :)

Anonymous said...

your drawings are fabulous! my class is reading the book and we all love it! i am soo jealus of how amazing an artist you are, you should totally do some for the other books in the series! i think you should draw the Twilight characters; Alice, Edward, Emmett, Jasper, Rosalie, Carslile, Esme, Bella, Jacob, Renesme, Renee, Charlie, Seth, Leah ect. i just love those books, and your drawings. i heard they are making an Airborn movie and i'm totally seeing it!

I'm in love with Kate de Vries said...

while i have seen the picture on the cover of skybreaker and I'm sorry but kate looks a lot different. i own the latest book starclimber and have the cover of them running in the grass to the moon(not quite sure what Kenneth means there cause it has nothing to do with anything they did in the book) but she has a more beautiful look. and why did you make her mad i mean she looks so amazing happy an Matt doesn't have the kind of hair its shorter it looks o much different on the starclimber cover

Anonymous said...

Airborn Rocks!!!!!! Without doubt the best childrens book EVER. Great pictures!

fartslayer22 said...

i need more!!!!! more books!!!!! keep them coming!!! and yes putting them in a movie would b great!!!!! and for a next book what about mate as the cptain of the ship kates on?? mayby it could work

Anonymous said...

Doing a report for this book and this search comes up on Google Image Search! LOVE these photos! You are an AMAZING artist with natural talent to depict how characters should look! Draw more! PLEASE!! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. God. I love this! I have been trying to portray Matt and Kate in my drawings but they end up looking like crap! I am so jealous of your amazing talent. My favorite is the one with Matt and the Cloud cats. Is there a way you can colour that one in or something? I would absolutely love you forever!
-Merry

Mi Anyu said...

same situation as anonymous down there...

doing this for a project; awesome drawings!

dy'u know about star climber? it's the third book coming out sometime this year (2009).

btw u should try drawing nadira, what with all the gypsy etc.

(answering ur question: ur images are on the first page of Google Images)

Anonymous said...

I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

Sorry for offtopic

spirit_kitkat said...

Yes |found your drawings on google while looking for pictures for my novel project on AIRBORN by Kenneth Oppel

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mintyBot said...

Yeah, I found this page via google images. Also, I'd love to use your drawings in a little 8th grade project of mine, if that's OK with you? I'll be sure to mention you and your website.

Anonymous said...

i LOVED this book and it's sequel, Skybreaker. Great drawings!!! (a little disney-ey, though)

Jeffrywith1e said...

You've captured the spirit of the book wonderfully. Great job.

Anonymous said...

Very well done. If they ever decide to make an Airborn movie, they need to call you up so you can do storyboards.

Anonymous said...

awesome drawings i although i think the leader pirate spiryzglas doesn't look how i imagined him

Anonymous said...

your art is better than half the tv series in the world maybe more than half

Anonymous said...

is there a sequel to airborn?

Anonymous said...

OMG, you did such a good job, it's amazing!

Anonymous said...

is that kate she looks hot

Anonymous said...

your drawing is amazing! can i use it for my book report? thanks

Alexander Martinez said...

Hey! Wanted too know if you wanted too make a cartoon of this with me? Email me at graphiction@gmail.com