I just finished Airborn, Kenneth Oppel's first book after his Silverwing trilogy. It's got airships and pirates and swashbuckling good times ... and apparently a reluctance to give up flying mammals, but who can begrudge him that? Anyway, it was fun, so I drew stuff:

(left) Main character, Matt Cruse, looking kind of bland, but that's more or less how he looked in my head ... and that's why I'm not a design star.

(right) Kate de Vries, leading lady, who makes me wonder about Mr Oppel's wife because she's very much like Marina in Silverwing. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm majorly ripping off some Jane concept art but it turned out nice anyway! Yay me! (No telling how many really awful sketches came before this one...) There's a girl at work whose 'look' I want to capture for her...

A thumbnail for the scene where they're offloading rubber hosing ... it looks cool in my head, trust me. Mostly dependent on colour, though. The composition needs a little finessing before I go that far.

Szpirglas, the pirate captain. After overcoming my tendency to picture him as Reacher Gilt, I realized I could base him off a family friend who fits the description rather well, but these were drawn before the realization, and I'm not sure I have any reference pictures. He could also look a bit like the author, but I don't know what Mr Oppel would think of that. Doesn't look very captainly here, or very piratey for that matter... More attempts later, perhaps.

The book is punctuated with occasional dream sequences in which Matt is flying, so I brought in a bit of the climax and stuck him with a flock of cloud cats ... apparently I can't get over Silverwing either.

Now for some moaning: Every day at work I draw what I would consider decent drawings. Admittedly, they're mostly poses in rotations, but they're solid and confident. I've even taken to doing rotations on paper instead of the Cintiq to keep me in touch with a pencil (and also because it's faster... and better). I get home, though, and open my sketchbook with pencil in hand, and what comes out looks and feels like the stuff I forcibly excreted in the midst of my rough storyboard-induced drawing decay period last summer. What do I need to change? I've been out drawing observational stuff more than ever this year but that hasn't seemed to have helped, it just seems to have made me impatient with my drawings so they're all really haphazard and gestural and I don't bother to get things right.

EDIT 21 MARCH 2009: What is up with this post? How is it getting so many comments? Does it turn up on a Google search or something? Could someone please tell me what is going on?

EDIT 14 NOVEMBER 2009: Thanks to those who commented with info regarding the traffic on this post! Interesting.