artsy fartsy



“The Long Return” limited edition prints
Print size: 9″ x 12″ Limited edition of only 30.
Archival giclée print on 100% cotton.
Each print is hand signed & numbered. $40 each, plus shipping.
First two in the edition mounted to wood and sealed with resin, $150 each.

Prints drop Friday, September 19, 9AM PST. Full details in the blog.
Purchase direct in the store.


By Ivan Alifan
on Tumblr
You may get asked this a lot, so please excuse my ignorance - but how do you go about constructing character expressions and body language and such? Thanks!




Besides The Basics (construction of heads and skulls and muscles and skeletons and how they move), I’ll go over some things I’ve been trying to work on myself lately:

1. Treat expressions as a single gesture of the face/head, as opposed to a head and then individual features dumped on a plate and arranged into an expression.

First, just get down the big shapes of your expression, just like you would for a pose.  

So say I wanna do a low angle angry pose.  I know the features are gonna be all mashed down at the bottom because of perspective.

 Scribble it down


start to put on features


fix stuff


put on more stuff


fix stuff again


erasing and flipping and stuff a whole bunch until you are happy with it or stop caring

Whole head is a gesture!image


2. Just like a facial expression, jot down where the important parts of an entire pose goes first.  You can force the rest of the body to fit the pose.

So here I knew I wanted the shoulders tilted a certain direction, and te hand to be in that particular position in front of her face. 




That’s the simplest explanation I got.  Don’t be afraid to push and pull faces and bodies around! Worry about being “on model” last!

I’m feel really strongly about this right now and I weirdly enough think about this a lot so I’m gonna word vomit a little buuutttt

Makani is seriously like my favourite artist ever and I think when it kind of comes down to it probably had the biggest hand in teaching me how to draw?? I’ve been looking at her stuff ever since I started going on the internet when I was like 2 years old (I feel like this is common) but kind of never really thought about it aside from consuming as a  fan however I guess getting into tf2 and meeting makani on the chan seriously changed how I drew entirely and it’s really bizarre to think about how such a huge factor in the way I draw today was from playing around on tf2chan LOL I feel like I never would’ve drawn characters/ interactions/ facial expressions/ etcetc if it wasn’t for that.

Anyways I guess makani has just stayed consistently impressive and incredible and I still just go look at her art like every day and start deliriously laughing because she’s so fucking good LOL Thanks for coming to my TED talk on makani 

Makani is my hero. Also for those of you who ask me about expressions and body language, here’s some extremely helpful advice!


that Chosen Hero Link again (and friends)


that Chosen Hero Link again (and friends)

Colouring tutorial, sort of


So lately a lot of people have been asking me if I’ll do a tutorial for how I colour my drawings. I’m pretty terrible at tutorials but I thought I’d at least try it.

So the following is my process for colouring drawings in Paint Tool SAI. (This assumes you have a basic knowledge of the program already)

First…you start with your lineart.


Next, you fill in the basic colours. If you’re patient and tidy, you can do clean lines, make sure they have no gaps, and then do the solid colours with the magic wand tool.

If you’re lazy like me, you can make it more difficult for yourself by leaving the lines sketchy and colouring them in by hand.


If I were doing coloured lines instead of leaving them black, here is where I would change them. Changing the colours of the lines is pretty simple - on the lines layer, just check the little box that says “preserve opacity” and recolour them however you want.

Next step is the shading. For this drawing, I chose to do my usual cel-shading style.

Make a new layer above your lines and solid colours and set it to “Multiply.”


Choose a mid-to-light greyish purple colour (you can actually use pretty much whatever colour you want depending on the look you want for the drawing - try experimenting with different ones a bit) for basic shadows.


Sometimes I draw in the shadows by hand, and sometimes I do what I did here instead - which is fill in the entire thing with shadow and then erase the light.



(Tip: if you ever have trouble with figuring out your light source, think of the light as rain/water and the light source as where the water is coming from. Anywhere that would stay dry, should be in shadow. Anywhere that would get wet should be lit.)

You can play with the opacity of the shading layer to make it more or less intense. In this case I wanted it a little more dramatic, so I raised the opacity of the layer.


Next, the background. If you’re good at backgrounds you can draw a good one. If you’re bad at backgrounds (like me) maybe just slap some coloured squares back there or something.


Add some highlights on the hair and you can be finished!

Sometimes afterwards I like to go into Photoshop CS5 and add some more lighting effects with gradients and stuff and play with the Colour Balance a bit but that’s not totally necessary or anything.



How do you draw your lizards and dragons with such good expressions/faces? It's one thing I have a great amount of trouble with.


h m m alright this probably wont be Super Helpful but

a good way to practice expressing emotion in an inhuman character is to pick a certain expression and try to recreate it on the character youre drawing. conveying emotion in a drawing can be pretty tough sometimes, but generally its in the same ways we use to spot emotion on human faces, and the easiest way to do that is alter the eyes and the mouth


and yeah, dragons dont REALLY have what wed consider eyebrows, but ive also never met one who could complain about it, so go nuts. if youre having trouble , you could try doing quick doodle sketches of different emotions, not trying to define the dragons face too much, but just getting the basic expression down, because you can always define it more later !



its important not to be TOO nitpicky about how realistic something is - the best expressors of emotions tend to be cartoons, because of their exaggerated features, and the further you go into realism, the harder its going to become to see emotion in a non-human animal

its also important to remember that the face alone isnt the only way to express feelings ! body language is super important, and helps really push the emotion youre trying to convey. think about the postures diferent people assume when theyre angry, when theyre depressed or confused or joyful. try to show them in the way your character is positioned !


its not all about eyes and mouth ! in fact, having conflicting body language and facial expressions can be used to express an inner struggle within the character, or show that theyre trying to hide something. good luck !!


Things I sometimes do to get over artists’ block.  Hope this helps!


Notes for foreshortening with ERIC 2 by FUNKYMONKEY1945


when the rose xxx you will xxx too

Concert of Birds - Hidenori Mitsue


46 by dandelion-s


A scrumptious fuck-ton of human mouth references.

[From various sources]