Sketchbook Update: Duck Dynasty

Duck Dynstay "Si Robertson" sketch by Cedric Hohnstadt

Lately I’ve been enjoying A&E’s hit show Duck Dynasty. We “cut the cord” and dropped cable a couple of years ago but I recently caught some episodes in a hotel room and watched a few more on the show’s website. I think I’m hooked, and might have to pick up a season on DVD.

Normally I’m not much of a fan of “reality” TV shows but this one is different. I recently read an article that described Duck Dynasty as a reality show that feels almost like a sitcom, and I have to agree. There are colorful characters, sitcom-y storylines, and lots of funny zingers, all wrapped up in a wholesome family-friendly package. The main difference is that the characters appear to be real people more or less playing themselves. Despite their scruffy beards and redneck ways, for the most part you laugh with them rather than at them.

I know that “reality” TV is often an illusion, with lots of writers and producers orchestrating things behind the scenes. This is the first time, at least that I’ve noticed, that the two formulas of “reality TV” and “sitcom” have been blended so successfully.

The most popular character seems to be the eccentric, cranky-but-loveable Uncle Si. He never goes anywhere without his plastic tea glass, which was given to him by his mother when he left to serve in Vietnam. He is constantly saying “Hey!” and calling everybody Jack. How can you resist drawing a guy like that?

I’ve noticed Si is one of those people who “talks with his hands”, but often while keeping his elbows in. So I tried to incorporate that into the pose.

Shameless Plug: Recommended Resources


It’s been a while so I thought I’d take a minute to shamelessly plug my website store. I plug a lot of stuff so there should be something of interest to everyone.

First, you can download The Best of Head Hunting, a PDF containing over 100 of the best portrait and cartoon sketches from my two previously published sketchbooks. Includes a bonus screen saver made from the art.

Second, I’ve linked to a few of the books and products I’ve illustrated that are now available on

Third—and this is the biggie—I’ve linked to an store called “Cedric Hohnstadt Recommends”. Dozens and dozens of carfeully-selected books, dvd’s, and other resources for artists, sorted by category. I’ve only included products that I think are really great. You don’t pay any extra by ordering them through my store, but in full disclosure tosses a few coins my way with each order for the referral.

Check out the Cedric Hohnstadt Illustration store here.

Art Books For Sale

Last week I mentioned that I was cleaning out my studio closets and selling a few misc. art and animation books on I received some requests to know what I’m selling, so here’s the list. If anyone is interested, just click on the item to buy. There’s some good deals if you don’t mind books that are slightly used.

Thoughts on Life Drawing

The human form is one of the hardest things for an artist to master. It is incredibly complex—the hundreds of bones and muscles in the body can twist and pull into an infinite combination of expressive poses. In addition, people come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It’s important for an artist to study different body types so he can convincingly illustrate characters with variety and personality

The best way to master the human form is simply to draw it…again and again and again. To keep my skills from getting dull I regularly attend drawing co-ops in my city (a co-op is simply a group of artists getting together to draw real live models). Although I’m a cartoonist, I consider life drawing to be one of the most important and helpful exercises I can do. The more I understand the human form, the easier it is for me to simplify and exaggerate it with cartooning.

It’s hard to understate the value of drawing from life. Photographs can be helpful, and there are some good reference books out there for artists. But because photos are 2D they tend to flatten the form. Also, because a photograph is permanently frozen it can suck some of the life out of a pose. For the serious artist, nothing beats the freshness and energy of drawing from a live model. Drawing from a photo is like eating reheated leftovers rather than fresh food hot off the stove.

However, as much as I believe in it there’s one part of the life drawing tradition I’ve never understood. Read More

Stuff I Recommend


I’m a huge collector of reference books. Among the dozens and dozens of books in my studio, there are a select few that I would highly recommend for any professional illustrator/character designer/animator to own. If you make your living drawing, this stuff can inspire you, boost your skills, maybe help advance your career or even increase your income. As part of my goal to make this blog a truly helpful resource for my readers, I’ve created a list on that organizes them under various headings. Categories include:

—Character Design
—Artist’s Reference
—Art Instruction
—Color Guides (for artists like me who struggle with color)

A link to the list will be permanently displayed on the blog sidebar.

In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that if you buy something from my list, will toss a few coins my way. I’m certainly not going to get rich off of it, but maybe it will be enough to buy a few extra cans of Monster Low-Carb.


While we’re on the subject, you may also have noticed the Tip Monkey that showed up on my sidebar a few days ago. I post new content every weekday primarily because I enjoy it. But it does take work. I want my blog to be a fun place, so no pressure. But if you visit regularly and if you’ve truly benefited from it, I certainly wouldn’t mind a small tip now and then. Either way, I’m grateful to have you reading.

Here endeth the sales pitch. Look for new, fun content again on Monday!