Urban Sketching the County Fair

Orange County Fair entrance
Welcome to the Orange County Fair!

Spent the day sketching at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, California. Looked at the animals (including humans), ate junk food and watched a friend perform with a rock band.

Drawing of the entrance display at the Orange County Fair
Welcome to the Orange County Fair!
Giant rooster guarding the Livestock Barn at the Orange County Fair
Giant rooster sentinel at the Livestock Barn.
Drawing of chickens: Fluffy and Moptop
Fluffy and Moptop
Drawing of an ice cream stand at the Orange County Fair
Ice Cream!
Sketch of Popdudes on stage at the Orange County Fair
Popdudes on stage at the Orange County Fair.
Drawing of John Borack playing drums at the Orange County Fair
John Borack drumming with Popdudes at the Orange County Fair.

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Collage showing the history of the fez fish

Evolving Art

When we first see a drawing, we might imagine a flash of inspiration leading straight to the finished artwork. Many times that’s what happens, but not always.

One of my favorite drawings took a few years and several versions until the art finally matched up with my imagination. The fez fish began as a 2013 sketch book drawing that I scanned and colored in Photoshop.

First version of the fez fish

A few months later, the fish appeared in a surreal fantasy comic that I created for a comic book contest.

Page 13 from the Little Dreamers comic book

After the contest, I returned to the original sketch book drawing and redrew the fish in Adobe Illustrator. I smoothed out the linework and applied shadows to add depth.

Second version of the fez fish

Jumping forward to 2017, I decided to revisit the fez fish in an attempt to better express the Victorian-era mystery of this character.

Sketches of the fez fish, part 1 of 2

Sketches of the fez fish, part 2 of 2

I scanned my sketches and did the final drawing and coloring in Illustrator.

Redbubble version of the fez fish

Sometimes it takes time and patience to get where you want to go. Even when you are travelling through your imagination!


Visit my Redbubble shop to purchase this design as a t-shirt, sticker or phone case.
Redbubble version of the fez fish

Visit my Society6 shop to purchase this design as an art print or home decor item.
Society6 version of the fez fish

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“The Tiger” on Redbubble

Pen and watercolor drawing of a running tiger

There’s a new design in my Redbubble artist shop. The design is based on a Bengal tiger pen and watercolor that I drew as one of my daily drawings.

My wife is a Clemson football fanatic and the tiger is Clemson’s mascot, so I felt compelled to create this monument to orange and purple!

Visit Redbubble, to get the Tiger as a sticker, art board, t-shirt, scarf, and many other items.

sticker
classic tee shirt

Visit my Society6 shop to purchase this design as an art print or home decor item.
Society6 version of the tiger

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Instagram for Artists

For the past two-and-a-half months, I have been posting my drawings on my Instagram account. Many artists participate in Instagram’s media sharing community, due to the ease and speed with which images can be posted and seen using mobile devices. I’ve found Instagram to be a valuable way to enjoy other artists’ creations and to share my art projects.

Here are a five of my favorite Instagram images. [click an image to see its Instagram post]
Pen and watercolor drawing of tuxedo cat, Kordell
Star Wars fan art drawing of Chirrut Îmwe
Pen and watercolor drawing of Faye's
Pencil drawing of John Glenn
Pen and watercolor drawing of Mouse the dog

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/dantabata/.

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Adventures in Urban Sketching

Pen and watercolor drawing of Tenmimi restaurant
Tenmimi Restaurant
Montrose, California

A week ago, I started urban sketching. I drew my first urban sketch (above) and I had such a fun time that I just did it again!

Pen and watercolor drawing of Faye's
Faye’s Intimate Apparel
Montrose, California

What is urban sketching? It’s an artistic approach to engaging with the world around us. A global community of artists (sketchers) use drawings and storytelling to “See the World, One Drawing at a Time.” Urban sketchers agree to follow the spirit of the following manifesto:

  1. We draw on location, indoors or out, capturing what we see from direct observation.
  2. Our drawings tell the story of our surroundings, the places we live and where we travel.
  3. Our drawings are a record of time and place.
  4. We are truthful to the scenes we witness.
  5. We use any kind of media and cherish our individual styles.
  6. We support each other and draw together.
  7. We share our drawings online.
  8. We show the world, one drawing at a time.
Art tools for urban sketching Tenmimi restaurant
My urban sketching art supplies – (left to right) water brush, Winsor & Newton Cotman Water Colour Sketchers Pocket Box, Lamy Safari fine nib fountain pen with Noodler’s Lexington Gray ink, Pentel PS535 sliding sleeve pencil with 0.5 mm HB lead, Stillman & Birn Alpha Series 9×6 (landscape) sketch book.

Follow my drawings and comics on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

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Four of Dan's Redbubble designs

Redbubble Artist Shop

I’m pleased to announce that my Redbubble artist shop is officially open.

Redbubble is an online marketplace that enables independent artists to sell their creations as quality print on demand products. I spent a couple months comparing competing print on demand platforms before selecting Redbubble to host my favorite illustrations. Using Redbubble’s manufacturing services my designs can be produced as framed prints, phone cases, tote bags, tapestries, stickers, clothes, and many other items.

I invite you to visit my Redbubble artist shop to see if there’s something you might enjoy!

Thank you,
-Dan

spiral notebook
tote bag


throw pillow
sticker


art print
ceramic mug
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Daily Drawings on Facebook

Ink drawing of cat pouncing

Last week, I started drawing each morning after breakfast as a way to get into the good habit of creating art each day. Here’s my tenth daily drawing. We’ll see how long I can keep this going. 😉

You can find all of my daily drawings on my new Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/dantabata.artwork

I’m also planning to cross-post most of my website/blog items on Facebook, so if you’d like to keep up with what I’m doing, my Facebook Page is a convenient way to do so.

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How to Use Opacity Masks in Adobe Illustrator

Opacity masks offer a easy-to-edit, non-destructive way to change the transparency of your Illustrator artwork by creating shapes through which the underlying artwork is revealed and concealed.

So, when might you want to use an opacity mask?

Here are two practical examples that were adapted from questions asked on the graphic design question-and-answer site Graphic Design Stack Exchange. Continue reading “How to Use Opacity Masks in Adobe Illustrator”

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Low Poly Dog Illustration

How to Create a Low Poly Dog in Adobe Illustrator

If you’ve played 3D video games you’ll recognize low poly from its blocky appearance and lack of detail. In 3D computer graphics a polygon mesh, often composed of triangles, is used to model 3D objects. The more polygons used in the mesh, the more detail can be applied to the object.

I recently watched a video that demonstrated an easily understood process for using an image to create low poly artwork in Adobe Illustrator. While playing the video I wanted to look at written instructions, but there were none available. Watching parts of the video over and over again was slowing me down, so I ended up taking my own notes and have turned them into this tutorial. Continue reading “How to Create a Low Poly Dog in Adobe Illustrator”

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