Selected Sketchbook Drawings – October 2019

I haven’t posted any sketchbook pages in forever, so here goes… 

Truth be told, I’d weirdly fallen out of my years-long habit of drawing nightly in my sketchbook and have only recently gotten back into it. Why had I fallen off? I’m not exactly sure–other than that I’ve had a lot of “life getting in the way” events happening in the last year and a half or so. And, as I’ve been working pretty steadily on Four-Fisted Tales, I’ve been keeping up with drawing pretty much every day, even if it wasn’t in my sketchbook. Thankfully though I’ve gotten back in the sketchbook habit–and I’m all the better for it. Non-directed drawing is something that I feel is really beneficial, even if you’re working on/drawing a comic regularly. 

(And if you’re interested in more regular sketchbook stuff, I regularly post my sketchbook work to my IG – @ben_f_towle.) 

So, below is just a handful of things selected from either my actual physical sketchbook or from “pages” of digital sketching that I’ve been doing on my Wacom MobileStudio Pro. (I’vs also started regularly attending weekly live animal-drawing sessions at CCAD, but those are so loose and gestural–not to mention hard to scan, given their size–that I’m not including them here.)

Here’s a digital sketch I did of (80’s-era) Madonna. I believe this is from a photo from a semi-recent MOJO Magazine. 

One of the things that’s really helped me get back into sketchbook work is attending a weekly drink-n-draw here in Columbus. There are a few different comics-focused events of the sort, but the one I go to is Tuesday nights at Two Dollar Radio. I make a point to work only non-digitally there and try out new materials as much as possible. (The fact that my office at CCAD is literally a stone’s throw from the art supply store is good for my artistic development… but bad for my bank account for sure.)

This is some experimentation with a carbon pencil. I first got interested in carbon pencils via Mark Schultz’s recent illustration work. He’s able to get them to blend seamlessly with traditional pen and ink work. I’m using it here more like regular charcoal or pencil. 


These two characters are obviously digital. As with all the digital stuff here, this was done in Clip Studio Paint. With these I’m using some tone layers in two different percentage values. 

Here’re a few more digital sketches: a whole “page” and then a close up of some kinda weird elephant creature I drew. I’m playing around with a lot of CSP stuff: tone layers, hatching brushes, etc.

Along those same lines (fooling around with a lot of digital CSP stuff) here’s a small, quick digital sketch of my dog that I really liked and a few random animal sketches on a single page:

I spent several of my early drink-n-draw sessions at the beginning of the school year working with my little Cotman watercolor kit. Here’re a few excerpts: a full page of random doodling, a warthog in Edwardian garb (don’t ask–no idea), and some explorations of Akira Toriyama’s (amazing) car designs:

Finally, here’s a handful of ballpoint pen sketches–the first an image of Kathleen Hanna from (again) a MOJO Magazine, then just a few doodles. I taught a unit on ballpoint illustration in one of my classes this term and as a side effect, I’ve been really getting into ballpoint myself. It’s a pretty unforgiving medium, but I love the way you can get anything from a colored pencil-like uniform, smooth color to very obvious hatchy mark-making.

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