Paintings of Drake Brodahl

Raised in Idaho and now living in the Seattle area, Drake Brodahl, also known as ‘Pumml’ is an illustrator with a fun painting style I wanted to mention, with a close look into his tools and work processes. His work is influenced by an interest in comics and animation, like that of Hanna Barbera, the Ren & Stimpy series and Samurai Jack, as well as mid-century children’s book illustration, by artists like Mel Crawford, Charley Harper and Mary Blair.

drake brodahl illustrator illustration

‘Artwork has always been there (my Grandfather was an artist) from childhood, drawing He-Man, Star Wars and Transformers, to art club in junior high school with a continued interest through high school and college. After college I pursued graphic design as a career and really focused on that, but within the last several years have come back to my love of illustration full force. The inspiration initially came about through watching cartoons, collecting art and the magical world of artist blogs’.

drake brodahl illustrator illustration

drake brodahl illustrator illustration

Drake’s work process comes out of much trial and error, with a broad knowledge of the working styles of other artists. It usually goes like this:

1. Think of a funny or interesting idea and doodle it on a piece of scrap paper or in my sketchbook.

2. Draw the final artwork on paper (usually starting with blue col-erase pencil and finishing with mechanical pencil). Sometimes this goes through a few rounds. Every once in a while I do this after the color study if I have colors in mind that I need to remember.

If I’m being good, I’ll do a quick value study with gray Copic markers. I usually skip this step and go straight to #4.

4. Do a quick color study on Bristol paper or in Photoshop (or both if I’m trying to refine colors further).

5. Transfer the final artwork to my surface (300lb Fabriano coldpress watercolor paper or heavyweight Strathmore bristol 500 vellum finish) using graphite transfer paper. I usually transfer the image in steps.

6. Continue layering from back to front, using various painting techniques to build depth and texture (wash, wet in wet, sponging, dry brushing, spattering, etc).

7. Finish, scan.

drake brodahl illustrator illustration

A selection of Drake’s most used tools are as follows:


Rounds: A mix of Kolinsky sables from Winsor Series 7, Raphael and DaVinci for detail work in size #1 – 6. Favourites are a Raphael 8404 #6 and DaVinci #4.

Flats: I have a bunch of different ones, but I like .5″, .75″ and 1″ in the WN Cotman 777 line (clear, chisel handles) and some sable by WN and Silver. I also have some other synthetics for grunt work.

Paint: Cel vinyl acrylic from Cartoon Color. I occasionally dabble in WN gouache and watercolor, too.

Surfaces: Those listed above plus deep cradle, textured Aquabord by Ampersand and Crescent cold press illustration board.

Other: Various sea and synthetic sponges. Acetate cels, fine mist sprayer, hair dryer, paper palette, custom made bridge, sealable cups.

drake brodahl illustrator illustration

© Drake Brodahl, 2009

Drake is currently working on pieces for an upcoming two man show with Matthew Porter in Astoria, Oregon, opening on June 13th. Shortly after that, he will be working on paintings for a solo show in September and backgrounds for a cartoon pitch called ‘Welcome to Monstroville’.

Good luck, Drake!


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