The Pig-Tailed Pirate | Skillshare Projects

Michael Walz

Designer, dad, and lover of geekdom



The Pig-Tailed Pirate

May 30th, 2013

Hey everybody!

I'm a graphic designer by trade, but I do not have very developed illustration or drawing skills. I'm taking this class to take some baby steps (or toddler stumbles?) towards being a better illustrator and ultimately a stronger designer. I'm anticipating this will be very challenging for me, but also very rewarding.

I love Matt's work and I'm very inspired by character design, so I thought I'd give this a try. I'm hoping to be stretched creatively and build some confidence while having fun trying out something outside my comfort zone. This is my first Skillshare class and I'm hoping to be encouraged by the other students and Matt's guidance.

Here are a few of my favorite illustrators and designers:

  • Invisible Creature
  • DKNG Studios
  • Joey Ellis
  • Greg Abbott
  • Timothy J. Reynolds
  • Nick Slater

And here's a link to my inspiration board on Pinterest:

Now I've just got to narrow down the character choice and get sketching!


June 2nd, 2013

So the above are my sketches of the progression of this little girl pirate character. I started at #1 and then worked it through to try to get something better and what I ended with was #6. I'm not sure I like #6 the best, however. There are details about it that I like - her feet, the parrot, and the crab on her hat - but I like the pose, face, and stance of #2 better.

I wonder if I'm overcomplicating the illustration and mucking things up by adding the jacket, sword, and hat? I like the simplicity of #2, so I might try to head back that direction and just add in some of the fun details to make her more unique.

I feel like when I try to go from the messy sketch to a more refined sketch, I don't pick the right lines and it ends up looking worse. I suppose that will get easier with practice, but right now it's frustrating the heck out of me!

I'd love to hear any feedback or suggestions you talented people might have!


June 4th, 2013

I wasn't totally happy with my previous sketch so I went back and re-worked it quite a bit. Here's what I came up with, which I think is a lot better. Now to bang out those shapes in Illustrator!


June 7th, 2013

Just getting to blocking out the shapes in Illustrator. Hoping to start rendering tonight.


June 8th, 2013

Here's my first pass at rendering part of the little Pig-Tailed pirate. It took a long time to get used to painting like this in Photoshop, but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. Not all of these are final colors and I haven't gotten to a lot of the pieces yet.

Any suggestions for things to improve at this stage are appreciated!


June 12th, 2013

I think this is the final version of my pig-tailed girl. I added all the details I wanted, redid the crab character, and tried out all the techniques Matt demonstrated in the videos. I feel like I've learned a TON, as well as gained the confidence that yes, with enough time and determination, this is something I CAN do. And it is a boatload of fun besides. I think I will keep drawing and experimenting with styles, but probably with something a little simpler next time :-)

I'm pretty satisfied with the rendering, but as always comments and critique are welcome!

Some shots of the details since Skillshare's compression kind of fuzzes them out.

Thanks for all the kind words and good feedback everyone - it was fun to be a part of this class with you!


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