Though there aren’t many pieces available online, the variety of subject, medium and approach, and the high quality of each, make the sketchblog of Simon Otto well worth a visit.
Otto himself is an animator at DreamWorks Animation. Though I couldn’t find any of his professional work online, you can see a list of his credits on IMDB.
His blog posts range from plein air oil paintings to digital sketches (apparently also painted on location with a laptop), to figure painting, to a series of wonderfully appealing sketchbook pages. The latter feature drawings apparently done in pencil and white body color on cream paper, and are my favorites of his posted work.
It’s an unusual approach; most toned sketchbook drawings tend toward ink and wash or monochrome watercolor. The combination of pencil against the cream and white areas, along with accents of textural tones created with lines, a technique more common to pen and ink, makes for nicely subtle and varied tonal range.
Occasionally, Otto will work with black body color or ink in place of the lighter tones, and he will sometimes punctuate his sketches with small areas of red or other colors. He’s not shy about tackling complex architectural subjects or cityscapes; rendering them in confident but sensitive lines and arranging them in interesting compositions.
Many of his sketchbook drawings are annotated with notes or dates, but for some reason they have been flopped in posting so that they read backwards, along with signs in the images. That does little to reduce their charm, however, and at the end of the available blog posts you’re left looking in vain for more.
Unfortunately, neither Otto’s blog, or the group blog from which it is extracted, have been updated since July. We’ll have to hope that Otto and his fellow artists get inspired soon to resume posting.