Nancy's Odd Bodies

Nancy's Odd Bodies - student project

I started with Tom’s Sweet Spots illustration course, then discovered that I needed to take this Odd Bodies class. Along the way at about exercise 13, I realized I also needed to take Tom’s Pen Tool Wizard workshop first. Great way to isolate at home during COVID-19!!


01 Action Figures & 02 Action Figures from Memory—Skiers

To build my confidence with paper and pencil after many many years, I also started with a skier in the 80s. I tried to keep with Tom’s style and keep it simple and more abstract. 

I agree with other students who talked about having trouble simplifying when looking at a photo or previous iteration, so sketching from memory (Panel 5) was a surprisingly useful exercise. I think I’m happiest with my 3rd iteration (Panel 4 above) before I tested my memory.

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 1 - student project



03 Page of Poses—Tennis Players 

The projects other students have posted are simply amazing! I needed to build more confidence for these poses so stuck with the tennis players and worked along with Tom while rewatching his steps. Yes, that’s the same player in her unitard but I also included the same tennis player in a different pose to figure out the pose on my own. Such a weird tennis-tard and pose! I took each sketch to the next iterations on paper and in Procreate (also new to me) in the 2nd and 3rd iteration. 

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 2 - student project

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 3 - student project

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 4 - student project

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 5 - student project


03 Page of Poses—Surfers  

When searching for inspiration before starting this exercise, I collected reference photos of bartenders, lawn bowlers and surfers. Surfers seem to get into extreme poses so I also played with a page of them on paper for the original sketch and then took them into Procreate where I experimented with different line styles.

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 6 - student project

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 7 - student project

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 8 - student project

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 9 - student project

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 10 - student project


04 People in Shapes

Fun exercise! I experimented with several shapes first in Procreate and liked the pipe and wine glass themes. I took the the Man in Pipe a little further with pencil on paper and the Woman in Wine Glass in Procreate. 

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 11 - student project

Different People in Shapes



Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 12 - student project

Man in Pipe


Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 13 - student project

Woman in Wine Glass


05 Cutouts

I used white printer paper, then smeared each one with some dye ink. This was a quick, fun exercise that helped with the next steps (probably could have helped with the first sketches too!)

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 14 - student project



06 Exaggeration

Since I enjoyed working with the pipe shape in the ‘People in Shapes’ exercise, I followed the steps Tom gave for his Telescope Guy to illustrate “Grandpa’s Pipe” in Procreate. Similar to Tom’s telescope, my pipe is exaggerated in side view. I decided to also exaggerate Grandpa’s hand holding the pipe but kept the character and his stool small.

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 15 - student project



I liked my Exaggeration sketch, Woman in Wine Glass and a surfer (#2), but chose Grandpa’s Pipe for my Bonus Project. 

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 16 - student project

Nancy's Odd Bodies - image 17 - student project

As soon I took my sketch into Photoshop, I quickly realized I NEEDED Tom’s workshop on using the pen tool in Photoshop…and I watched it again and again. I ended up skipping the steps to make my own inky layers for this project because I really want to practise sketching and Photoshop pen and layer skills before introducing channels: definitely excited about taking the Inky Illustrations class next (or after I get back to Sweet Spots).

I started with a similar colour palette to Tom’s Telescope Guy and then was able to easily swap the colours because my layers were labeled and organized. Almost everything in this illustration was new to me so the shading with brushes and lines might look amateur. I’m really pleased with the result though and can’t believe how much useful content (including industry tips) Tom packed into this course. Thank you, Tom, for being so encouraging, thorough and inspirational! 



Nancy McKinney
Illustrator & Designer