August 26

Artist Feature: Drag Daddy


Drag Daddy Links:

Video Transcript below

In this video I’m going to look at an artist called Ben Mitchell, also known as Drag Daddy. He had kind of a big influence on me in terms of drawing hands years ago. His hands are very significant. And I’ve always liked the style, and he does these really cool coloring books. Super simple, some black and white drawings stapled together in a little bunch and you can order them directly from his website. And I’ve used those books to study them and try to get behind his thinking a lot.

I think the most significant thing I learnt of the stuff that I picked up and am still using today is kind of the way that he draws hands, and many people, they have problems with drawing hands, because it’s not easy. But I like his way of doing it, they look kind of real-ish, but still there’s something going in different directions. One of the key features of making a hand interesting and funny is to kind of have these fingers and digits on the hands, little elements that kind of stick out from just being like a bowl, that makes them more interesting.

And actually I kind of think that it probably makes them a little bit easier to draw actually, because like this one, you could take three of the fingers and bunch them up in this kind of shape, right? And then as long as you have a thumb and the other finger, then it kind of works. It’s out of proportion, doesn’t matter, but you get the idea. You don’t have to concentrate on drawing each and every single figure on a hand, you can kind of, especially when it’s characters that is gripping something, then you could just make sure that the grip is right then draw a couple of fingers and get some mood, some action and stuff into those.

So let’s try and see if we can kind of draw a little bit, at least this is how I draw hands nowadays, and we kind of derive from Ben’s style. This is a pencil, could be anything. Maybe we do a shift knob, that’s more classic. And some kind of shifter up here. And then over here is the character, and out comes an arm. And I kind of always try to place the top of the hand first, or the palm of the hand. And then decide okay what usually, as you can see over here on Ben’s drawing, it’s always the pinky that’s sticking out, because you don’t really grab anything with the pinky. So that’s the one finger that you can always make go out in a fun direction.

But then we’re gonna look at how his thumb is kind of going around the pencil here, it’s coming out, and then kind of going in like this. So we’re gonna do the same kinda thing, and I usually start with just like stick stuff, stick balls and points, just to make sure I get it right. And then put some extreme movement into the fingers, and this is the part where I don’t really have to draw all the fingers, I can just draw a couple of lines, because they’re hiding behind the other fingers. And then I can do, like Ben does, maybe like a crazy pinky finger that’s sticking out. And that way the whole hand looks a little bit more interesting.

And this is of course, this is the rough sketch. What I would do, okay now we’re thinking that this is fine, I’m gonna do … If it was on paper I would use a very light pressure, like a 6B pencil or color pencil and very light pressure, but now I’m painting on the iPad so I just put on new layer. If you had, you could use like a light table as well.

And now here comes another thing that I’m doing a different way now but I actually learned it from Ben, from studying Ben, is the way he does nails. See, you can kinda see that the nail is kind of embedded into the tip of the finger. And that’s actually something I got from him, the way I do it now. I have really looked. I don’t use his stuff for reference for fingers anymore because I’ve kind of got my own style and that’s always the way to do it.

So what I do nowadays mostly is that you need this kind of soft spot, but then I kind of make just like a … like it’s really embedded, and the most important thing here is … take another color so we can see. Is those here. Those little bulge. Because those interaction with that top of the nail right here is actually what makes it look like it’s embedded in the finger. And this is of course a little bit cartoony, but that’s how I like to do it now.

And you can see, if you look at Ben’s stuff, you always have the nail sticking out. And that’s cool, but I kind of just developed my own style of this, like it looks a little bit like a soft rubber glove thing. And that’s exactly, not to kind of toot my own horn here, but that’s how you want to study other artists work. Get behind their thinking, why are they doing like they’re doing? Draw their stuff over and over again. Don’t pass it off as your own. And then with time you will develop your own way of doing these things.

Then you can go crazy on the arm and whatever. This would be a smaller part of a larger illustration. I would probably make one of these fingers… Even have them come here if you want it even more extreme. Sometimes it’s funny, especially in those shift knob situations, to kind of make the fingers really ridiculous. Because it’s supposed to be crazy monster driving a crazy rod or something anyways.

Put a little bit of motion here. Maybe some hairs. That’s all in the details, it’s nice to kind of get the basic shape first. And the good thing about digital is of course you can keep on molding it like that, but the principal on paper is the same.

So that’s it. You should definitely check out Ben ‘Drag Daddy’ Mitchell. His stuff is super awesome. And also I know his contrast, you know, look at this little area right here, where he has all the teeth in the front here, but then on the back end of the mouth he doesn’t draw the teeth again but they are just like silhouette in the back. And he actually breaks off this line right here for the arm behind it with the silhouette.

It might look like super crude and simple stuff, but this kind of thing and this kind of thinking actually takes a little bit of practice to make this look cool and really be super fast to read. It’s not really hard to tell what’s going on in this photo. And you don’t even need the whole … He didn’t draw in the rest of the character because everything you need is kind of like in the face. Where is the eye looking? It’s looking at the piston in his hand. And he has a pencil in the other hand, that probably means that we can imagine what’s going on with this monster, which is maybe a self portrait, is my guess. He’s actually looking at the piston to draw it.

So that’s it. We will of course link up to Ben, Drag Daddy’s stuff in the description and everything so you can check out more of his work. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Thank you for watching and see you again soon.


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