I’m Featured On The Wacom Gallery

Cut The Rope sketch

The other day the nice folks at Wacom included one of my toy design concept drawings on their Behance  “Featured” gallery. Like most artists who work digitally, I’m a long-time user of Wacom’s products. They make quality hardware and they are the go-to brand for digital drawing equipment (tablets, Cintiqs, etc.). It’s a real honor to have them shine their massive spotlight in my direction.

Character Design Shuffle App


A popular exercise for cartoonists and character designers is to randomly pick from a list of characteristics (occupations, personality types, animal types, emotions, etc.) and then sketch a cartoon character based on them. Some artists, such as Chris Ayers, actually keep a Ziploc bag full of little slips of paper with such traits written on them. They pull out a few and then sketch a character that matches whatever combo they get. After reading one of Chris Ayers’ books I created my own ziploc bag, which I blogged about here.

Stephen Silver recently released a terrific iOS app called “Character Design Shuffle” (iTunes link), which takes this concept into the digital age. Simply select from a group of categories, hit the “Shuffle” button, and then draw the results that pop up. It’s a terrific tool and in hindsight its amazing someone didn’t come up with this idea sooner.


I’ve had the app on my phone for a few weeks but have been so slammed with work that I didn’t get a chance to try it out until this morning. The app gave me this description: “Female, Weasel, Doctor, Scurrying, Devastated”. The above warm-up sketch is the result.

Giving Tumblr A Try

More and more artists, especially in the animation community, seem to be flocking to Tumblr. I’ve decided to tag along. One the one hand I don’t really need yet another social network to stay on top of (I’m already active on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Behance, and every once in a while I still make an appearance Pinterest, DeviantArt, and Google Plus.) On the other hand, I get a lot of inspiration from following other artists and so I want to go where the action is.

In order to follow anyone on Tumblr I had to create an account, so I slapped together a page and uploaded a couple of sketches. At the moment I’m swamped with client work but once things slow down I’ll give it a closer look and see what I think. If I like it I might kick in for the long haul.

If you also Tumble, you can follow me at http://cedrichohnstadt.tumblr.com.

EDIT: Some artists are actually shutting down their blogs and replacing them with their Tumblr pages. For the time being my blog will be staying right here as part of my website and I plan to keep posting as always.

Sketchbook Update: Posebook App

Sketches from Posebook App

A few weeks ago I won a prize giveaway of Stephen Silver’s new sketching app, Posebook. Today during my warm up I finally had a chance to give it a test run.

For those who haven’t heard, Posebook is a pair of new apps (Male and Female) for iPhone/iPad/Android/Kindle created to help artists develop their drawing skills. Each features a large collection of photos from professional costumed models in over 2,000 full-body poses for sketching, plus hands and close-up facial expressions. There’s also 6 instructional videos from app creator Stephen Silver, himself an award-winning character designer, as well as 25 sketches from other top character designers in the animation biz. That’s a lot of goodies for $9.99 each.

There are no nude models, although some of the costumes and poses in the Female Posebook fall into the “sexy cheesecake” category. Being a dad with daughters has made me more sensitive to issues of female modesty. Combine that with the warnings Jesus gave about the whole lust thing  (see Matthew 5:27-30) and it means as much as I’d like to unfortunately I can’t quite bring myself to recommend the Female version of Posebook. Which is too bad – otherwise it’s a terrific app. If only there was a way to delete some of those images, I’d be happy to give it the same big “thumbs up” that I give to the Male Posebook (iTunes link).

Both apps are wonderfully designed, full of many expressive poses that are well lit and full of character. In short, sketching from Posebook is just plain fun.

Finally, A Pressure Sensitive Stylus for the iPad?

Jot Touch

The International Consumer Electronics Show is currently underway and all sorts of new gadgets and gizmos are being unveiled. Today I stumbled upon a glowing review from MacWorld of a new iPad stylus that, as far as I know, is the first to offer true pressure sensitivity for iOS. If it lives up to the hype, the Jot Touch from Adonit could be a real breakthrough for digital artists.

Companies like Wacom have been making pressure-sensitive drawing equipment for years. I personally own two Wacom Cintiq’s (a large desktop model and a small portable one), and before that I used a Wacom tablet for many years. The technology exists, Apple just isn’t interested. Their iPhone/iPad touch screen technology is designed for chunky fingertips, not fine tipped pens, so up until now drawing on the iPad has been somewhat limited and frustrating (as I’ve written about before).

Several drawing apps have attempted to close the gap with clever workarounds, i.e. the faster you draw the stroke the thinner it gets, but none have been able to achieve true pressure sensitivity. It looks like Adonit has finally cracked the code by combining a sophisticated pen with a clever use of Bluetooth. According to the MacWorld review the results are impressive, which means it could even give Wacom a run for its money. It won’t be cheap – it will apparently ring up at just under $100 – but if it lives up to its hype it would be worth the investment.

If other rumors are to be believed (and that’s a big if), the iPad 3 will be unveiled later this year with a new super-HD screen. That, combined with a quality pressure-sensitive stylus, would be a killer combo.


Free Photoshop Pencil Brushes

I do all my artwork from start to finish in Photoshop. It’s a very powerful program and overall I enjoy using it. But I’ve never been thrilled with Photoshop’s brushes.

There’s nothing in Photoshop that does a good job simulating the look and feel of a real-world graphite pencil. Painter and Sketchbook Pro are have pretty good pencil brushes, but I’m so used to Photoshop that I don’t really want to go to the trouble and expense of learning a new program. Instead, to simulate pencil I’ve been using the standard hard-brush tool in Photoshop with the opacity set to 30%. That way I get a thin gray line that I can build up with pressure and crosshatching. For rough sketching it gets the job done but it’s really not the same thing. The results are satisfactory at best.

pencil  brushes

Then I discovered these Photoshop brushes (Nagel Series 33) from Dave Nagel at CreativeMac.com that do a pretty good job of simulating graphite and chalk. I’ve only had a little time to play around with them and have yet to try them on a client project, but so far I really like them. It’s a huge improvement over anything that comes standard with Photoshop. My favorite is an 11-point brush called NagelSeries33-CharcoalPencil1. I used it to sketch the doodle up above. The texture looks like a lot like graphite, and you can get a nice range of dark-to-light simply by pressing harder with the Wacom stylus. I think I’ll be using it a lot.

And best of all, the brushes are free. You can download the brushes and get instructions on how to install them here.