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"Gina Torres" Study - Illustration by Sam Spratt

In the midst of an album cover but had a bit of time to flesh out my sketch from the other day.

(via euclase2)



Voice Actors and Actresses from Avatar The Last Airbender who came back with new characters in The Legend of Korra.

What a cool post! Once again, the hardest working fans in the business. Also, as illustrated by these graphics, if you hear a voice on ATLA/LOK there is a strong chance it was performed by Grey DeLisle. Although Dee Bradley Baker might have more screen time due to all the animal chirps and grumbles. Either way, Grey and Dee could easily voice an entire series together—just the two of them covering all the characters—and the audience would be none the wiser without checking the credits.


Ann Friedman's Disapproval Matrix for handling criticism is a thing of genius, not to mention essential internet-age literacy. She explains:

Critics: These are smart people who know something about your field. They are taking a hard look at your work and are not loving it. You’ll probably want to listen to what they have to say, and make some adjustments to your work based on their thoughtful comments.

Lovers: These people are invested in you and are also giving you negative but rational feedback because they want you to improve. Listen to them, too.

Frenemies: Ooooh, this quadrant is tricky. These people really know how to hurt you, because they know you personally or know your work pretty well. But at the end of the day, their criticism is not actually about your work—it’s about you personally. And they aren’t actually interested in a productive conversation that will result in you becoming better at what you do. They just wanna undermine you. Dishonorable mention goes to The Hater Within, aka the irrational voice inside you that says you suck, which usually falls into this quadrant. Tell all of these fools to sit down and shut up.

Haters: This is your garden-variety, often anonymous troll who wants to tear down everything about you for no rational reason. Folks in this quadrant are easy to write off because they’re counterproductive and you don’t even know them. Ignore! Engaging won’t make you any better at what you do. And then rest easy, because having haters is proof your work is finding a wide audience and is sparking conversation. Own it.

The general rule of thumb? When you receive negative feedback that falls into one of the top two quadrants—from experts or people who care about you who are engaging with and rationally critiquing your work—you should probably take their comments to heart. When you receive negative feedback that falls into the bottom two quadrants, you should just let it roll off your back and just keep doin’ you.

Complement with Benjamin Franklin’s trick for neutralizing critics, Daniel Dennett on how to criticize with kindness, and Anne Lamott’s definitive manifesto for handling haters.


Tuesday Tips - FOLDS

More on folds today. I will eventually cover all types of folds but today is about simple folds on everyday clothes (t-shirt, jeans). The key is to know what to expect and then applying what you know to simplify what you see in front of you (when life drawing). A lot of the folds dynamics on shirts and jeans come from the “memory” of the fabric itself. Denim is thick and is likely to keep some form of wrinkles or folds around certain areas (knees). A lot of zig-zag patterns around the knee is very likely. When pushed down on the feet, the denim fabric will bunch up and combine with the zig-zag pattern. Shirts and t-shirts will react to the twist and pull of the arms and torso. Identify where the pull (or tension) is coming from and work from it. I tend to draw the seams because they clearly express the volumes underneath.




The new Batgirl design has been often credited to Cameron Stewart OR Babs Tarr but rarely to the both of them. The design process was in fact a collaboration with both artists contributing to the final design.

Cameron: When DC first approached me about taking over Batgirl as…

Asker Anonymous Asks:
I know this may sound stupid but...have you ever feel the need to defend yourself for using reference pictures? I know many artists use them and a lot of them, like you, kleinmeli, euclase and so on and they are pretty open about it. I just always feel like I should be ashamed of it or should feel bad for not drawing from my mind. Am I being overly sensitive? How do you handle criticism of that kind? Sorry for such a stupid question.
mkingstuff mkingstuff Said:


Hi anon!

As I always say: there’s no stupid questions, so don’t feel guilty about your ask!

have you ever feel the need to defend yourself for using reference pictures?

The first time someone called me out for using reference pictures, I wondered if I understood their comment correctly and if my glasses were actually on my nose. This person couldn’t be serious. I mean, I’m into realistic art, I draw portraits where you can see the pores of the skin, the freckles, every eyelash, I draw the fucking Impala from Supernatural in its tiniest details and you think I can do this without reference pictures? If I were a comic artist, I would maybe understand their reasoning but for a realistic artist like me, it’s stupid.

Of course, when it comes to comics, the situation is a bit different, the drawings are more stylized so comic artists will use less photos but it doesn’t mean they don’t use references. In addition, now, they even use 3d softwares like Poser to create dynamic poses and reference models. They even build sets, towns, whatever in Google Sketch Up.

Referencing is useful and it’s essential when you draw realistically. This trend of “real artists don’t use reference” needs to die like yesterday. There is no shame about using photo references or, if you can, live models.

And if my humble opinion isn’t enough for you because I am a Tumblr nobody, here is a quote from Alex Ross' book, Mythology.

Ross’ biggest breakthrough as an illustrator came in June 1987 at the American Academy of Art, when he was introduced to the use of live models. “Before that, I had no idea how much I could grow as a draftsman. It was a huge turning point, because all through grade school I hadn’t so much as drawn from photographs_I’d always thought that you had to make it all up out of your head, and that’s how you did ‘fantasy’ illustration. Now I wonder if I would have developed even sooner had I drawn from life as child”

Photo session for a Superman drawing:

Alex Ross using the photos for his work:

HOWEVER, using photos must not prevent you from studying anatomy, body proportions, volumes, because it’s important to know how a body or a face work (you start with stick figures, then rectangles and cylinders until being able to draw a body exactly the way you want). Because I did it (and I carry on practicing those things), I don’t use reference pictures when I judge the pose is easy but when I need to be precise, fuck the pseudo art experts who tell me I’m not a “real artist” because I need a photo: I do use reference pictures. I can’t draw a portrait of Jensen Ackles without at least 2 or 3 photos by my side.

I just always feel like I should be ashamed of it



How do you handle criticism of that kind?

Like I handle all the stupid criticisms of that kind:


TLDR: If you are into realistic art, references are essential, it’s very very hard to draw from memory a realistic portrait. If you are into something more stylized like comics, you have tricks to use less references but it doesn’t mean you are a bad artist if you do.

Voilà, now my little anon, let the guilt go away and draw in peace. And of course, have a great weekend ♥


Molly Mahan is one of the best editors I have ever worked with, editing my Red Sonja run at Dynamite. I asked her what she looks for in an artist’s portfolio, what are the warning signs that the person isn’t ready. Good tips here!


Two things that…

(via mtakara)


No reason.  Just wanted to unwind.



(via plumecomic)