Drawing People: online resources for figure drawing

I’ve been drawing people a lot lately. It’s been mostly in cartoons and working on comic concepts. Sometimes I use poses straight from my imagination, but more often I use pictures of friends or myself. There are a lot of resources online that can be helpful too though. I’m trying to get a better grasp at drawing people so I’ve been looking in to finding more of those resources and thought I’d share them with you. I made a list of some of my favorites.

Croquis Cafe – On Air Video, Inc. produces their Croquis Cafe. This is on You Tube and it’s a series of videos with nude models in various poses. The 360 series presents the models slowly spinning. This allows you to pause the clip at the angle you wish to draw the model at. It is also a great reference for sculpting. The In Real Time series has the models switching poses in 1, 2, and 5 minute increments. It’s great for timed practice sketching or if you want to do a more detailed session you can pause the clip on your pose of choice.

New Masters Academy – Also on You Tube, the New Masters Academy produces videos of models posing. They offer a series of nude and clothed models. Their channel also offers demos and tutorials.

Pinterest – Pinterest searches are great ways to find gesture drawing reference material. Some fun searches are belly dancer, jumping, and aerial silks.

Deviant Art– It’s not just artwork on display here. User submitted stock images and reference photos are made available on Deviant Art also. You can check out SenshiStock for some action/adventure poses. Drawing someone walking is sometimes easier said than done. Pyjama-Cake has you covered on those “seems basic, but WTF – this is hard,” poses.


Storm Damage and Storm Gifts

I kept putting off harvesting the mangos on the branches that hung over on our side of the fence. I kept thinking, I’ll do it tomorrow.

Yesterday, as Dolphin was heading away from us, I went to check the damage. My family was lucky. We were only inconvenienced with boredom, from the lack of electricity and of course, messy yards. And even the messy yards were scattered with gifts. My sister in law was giving friends and neighbors avacados. She had a wagon full. My father gave away bags of mangos to neighbors. Some young boys knocked on his open window to ask if they could pick some of the left over fallen mango. They only took a polite amount and thanked us before leaving with their treats.

reconstructing wonderland - mango

My life recently has felt like one storm after another. So this actual typhoon was a bit nice for me. I was born and raised here. Some of my favorite, clearest childhood memories are of the super typhoons that our island endured quite regularly. In fact, a favorite old family photo is one of my brother and I outside during the eye of a storm, Yuri or Omar, I think. Dealing with typhoons can suck, but it’s something I know for sure I can survive and even make the most of. Dealing with life’s “storms” is a bit different. Typhoon Dolphin kind of reminded me that a storm is a storm. And a survivor is a survivor.

Also – Power outages suck, but Allan can usually turn crappy circumstances in to a party, like this …

reconstructing wonderland - power outage party

Head in the clouds


The start of a new series, I hope. Maybe a book? Or magnets? We’ll see where it goes.

RDTD: A Grajek childhood favorite

“One with a light.

One with a stick.

One with a rope.”

The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree is book that my parents read to my brother when he is was really young. Before he could read he had memorized the story enough that he could “read” it to them. When I was born, eight years later, it was passed on to me. And my parents and my brother would read it to me. When my oldest nephew was born we would all take turns reading it to him. And he would “read” it to us. When the younger boys were born the book was falling apart from love. So a brand new Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree was purchased for them.

I’m not exactly sure why this was THE book that became the Grajek childhood favorite. Maybe because it was about family, adventure, and home. It’s a bit of a reminder that when things get spooky it will always be okay, because we have each other, family, to come home to.


What was your favorite book as a child? Are there any books in your family that have been passed down?

Nezumi’s cartooning essentials & extras

Nezumi’s cartooning essentials:

Nezumi's cartooning essentials - Reconstructing Wonderland

My cartoons for the Mariana’s Variety Guam Edition are published in black and white. This makes my essential supply list pretty simple. I sketch with a basic Steadtler HB pencil. I add the grippies because they’re a lot more comfortable when you’re drawing for a while. I use two different erasers. While I’m sketching I use the Pentel Clic Eraser 2 and to erase the sketch after I finish inking I use the Pentel Black eraser. Sakura Microns are great for inking. I really want to get one of their brush pens. I use an assortment of Sharpies when I’m making really bold lines and coloring in large spaces. Sometimes I use my black Copic for large fields too. My white Gelly Roll is the icing on my cartoon cake and occasionally an inky oops corrector.

Nezumi’s cartooning extras:

Nezumi's cartooning extras - Reconstructin Wonderland

When I first started cartooning I inked with dip pens and brushes. This was how I had grown used to illustrating so I thought it would be okay with my cartooning. I quickly learned that it was not convenient or time efficient. I don’t always get to cartoon at my drafting table and I don’t want to have to pull out ink bottles, pen holders and nibs at my day job. I mean they’re cool, but not that cool. I do miss the sound of nibs on paper though.

Sometimes after I’ve sent in my cartoon, I color them for fun. Copics and Inktense pencils are awesome for doing that. I need to work on an adult satire based coloring book. Would that be a hit? What are your favorite creative supplies?

Escaping 2015

I thought this was going to be an even greater year than last year, but stuff happens. And my focus is really screwed. So I think I’m going to conserve some energy for now and escape for a bit.

escaping 2015 - Reconstructing Wonderland

The amber rage in Sothmere has nothing on real life battles.

What just happened?!

guahusicharlie round

I had a rough start to my morning yesterday and had to work really early. I was also thinking about a cartoon deadline and trying to go through some of the topics I had gathered in my head yesterday. As I was mentally sorting through local news stories in my head, I decided to look to Twitter for some cartooning motivation. But my feed was filled with cartoons and stories on the tragedy in Paris. The local news in my head evaporated and I just felt incredible sadness and disbelief at what I was reading. The solidarity in the cartoons, while hopeful, still made it really hard to fight back what would become sobs if I didn’t get a hold of myself.

This one broke my heart –

It’s all pretty heavy. And this situation is ridiculous. I get that cartoons and writing and films have the power to be extremely offensive. I don’t love, or even agree with, every cartoon I see. But like most people, I usually just bitch about it to whoever is closest to me. In one instance though I saw a cartoon in a local paper that really got to me. It made me so angry. So I armed myself. I loaded a pen with ink and fired back with a cartoon of my own. We have evolved! Haven’t we?

Here is the cartoon I did for the today’s issue of the Marianas Variety Guam Edition.

Guahu si Charlie! - Nezumi on Reconstructing Wonderland


Guahu si Charlie. Je suis Charlie. I am Charlie.


Twenty Fifteen

twenty fifteen - Reconstructing Wonderland

I hope everyone started the year off in a more than pleasant way. In my household we were in bed by midnight sharing nerdy You Tube videos on our phones. While that may not seem to be the party that others would prefer, we actually enjoy that down time. So it wasn’t a bad way to start the New Year. It was actually perfect.

first cartoon of the year

first Nezumi for MVGUAM cartoon of the year

I have a bunch of things I want to work on this year. I want to cartoon more. I actually want to create a comic strip. Woohoo! Three Moons will be finishing up the Spectrum series and working on some great stuff with our artists friends and the amazing people over at Guma Tasa. I have a lot of work to do to really get WOW! powering through the year and ready for the exhibit. Allan and I are expecting our Dragon Age order to come in soon. We’re so excited for that. It’ll be pretty awesome to get our friends together for some adventures.

twenty fifteen - Reconstructing Wonderland

A lot of things planned for this year, but of course I still have my day job. I’m kind of looking for something else though. I’d like something that doesn’t fry my brain, so that when I get off I still have some cells left to take on adventures and creative endeavors. Plus, I want to be able to spend more time with my family! We’ll see how that search goes. For now this illustrates how I feel going in to work at 6:45 in the morning, when I really just want to recover from an all night drawing, pinning, blogging, or planning binge. I imagine it being captioned, “grrrrrrrrr!”

What are you looking forward to this year? Do you have an awesome headache free job to offer me, that will pay the bills my projects don’t pay? Can you do a cart wheel? Were you looking forward to getting a hover board for your birthday this year? Oh well, for now I will leave you with this.

twenty fifteen - Reconstructing Wonderland

Someone did create a hover board though. I’m sure Apple is trying to buy it now.

Highlights from 2014

2014 Highlights - Reconstructing WonderlandI started 2014 off with this blog, Reconstructing Wonderland. My previous blog was titled Waiting for Wonderland. At the end of 2013 I realized that name was poorly chosen. Who wants to wait around for something? 2014 was my year for making things happen.

At the beginning of the year there were so many things I wanted to work on. I didn’t cover everything on my list, but there were a lot of areas that I did work on. I did my very best to rise up to instead of running scared form opportunities. It didn’t always turn out the way I would’ve liked, but I learned from everything. Here are some of the highlights.

2014 Highlights - Reconstructing Wonderland1. I was asked if I’d be interested in doing editorial cartoons for the Mariana’s Variety – Guam Edition. Despite being concerned about my ability to consistently come up with cartoons and my fear of hurting feelings or burning bridges, I said yes. And I’m so glad that I did. I still have days where I get concerned about whether my cartoon was too weak or even too strong. And there are days where I draw a complete blank or I’m too tired from my day job that I can’t cartoon. For the most part though, I’ve managed to do a job I can be proud of. Once I even got an email forwarded to me from a reader, who liked my cartoon so much he emailed the paper. I hope to continue do this for as long as possible and hopefully 2015 will include an exhibit of my cartoons. Be on the look out for that.

2. In June I exhibited my work at Guma TASA coffee shop. The show, illusDREted, was a lot of work and at times I wanted to back out. It turned out so much better than I ever expected. I was truly grateful for every one who attended, purchased work and prints, and all the people who helped make it possible.

3. Also during the summer, I was able to facilitate a couple workshops for teens. One was a DIY class and the other was on illustration. This was a great summer program put together by Guma TASA. They are so great at supporting the arts. My students were amazing and so talented. I enjoyed working with them so much. This was really a dream job for me. I mean really, my dream is to help children explore the arts and appreciate it. So it was my dream job.

2014 Highlights - Reconstructing Wonderland4. Speckled throughout the year I was doing large and small projects for Nihi. I helped to create two full studio sets, bits of a studio set, and some props. I learned so much from these projects. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to work with the Duk Duk Goose production team and the other artists who helped. And it was really great to finally be able to share it with our island, in September when the shows started airing. I am so proud of everyone involved.

5. I got a commission this year to create a logo. My aunt, who lives off island, started a new business creating hats for children. I was so honored that she asked me to design her logo. She’s an awesome business women, so it makes me feel good that she has that confidence in me to have trusted me with something so important. It was a lot of fun too. And it was another really great learning experience. I hope to learn more this year and continue working with her on other projects.

2014 Highlights - Reconstructing Wonderland5. “WOW!, an art exhibit for children and their families” – This show has my heart. I’m actually tearing up thinking about it as I’m writing. It was absolutely crazy to organize and I had no actual funding so it seemed nearly impossible, but the support from the artists, the community, and my family made it happen. And I promise that every year on, this show is going to grow, until it hopefully turns in to a permanent children’s museum. I’m planning for next year’s exhibit already! I’ll be posting updates regularly and building a site specifically for it.

7. I teamed up with two other local artists this year. Colleen Weller, Myracle Mugol, and I were hanging out one night and something pretty awesome was born, Three Moons. Together we produced two shows that are part of the Spectrum 4 part series, bringing together local visual art, music, and food. This gave me the opportunity to work with artists I’ve known for a long time and some new artists. If you didn’t catch the first two shows you missed out, but there are two more shows coming in 2015. I’ll be sure to post updates.

2014 Highlight - Reconstructing WonderlandLooking back, I’m really stoked on all the things I was able to accomplish in 2014. At the same time though, I’ve realized that I missed out on a lot because I was working a full time job while doing all of these things. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with family and friends. While my art life blew up, my personal life was declining. I’m currently trying to figure out a way to bring more balance in to my life. I want to continue to grow as an artist and organizer, but I need to make sure I can do that while also focusing on my home, health, and heart, my family and friends. More on that in my next post.

What are some of things you did in 2014 that you’re really proud of? Do you have any suggestions for helping me find balance? I’d love to hear them. Really, I need all the help I can get!