Saturday, 13 August 2016

Sketch dump and life update!

That last one keeps getting longer and longer every time I open the file! "Oh wouldn't it be cool if there were more mob references? WHAT ABOUT MORE TENTACLES lets just move that up and voila more room for more characters" It'll be the death of me but It's going pretty well so far! I intend to animate the writing (placeholder font) so that it, and several aspects of the painting flicker/fade. 

Top two are yet more visuals for my Dragon Age pen and paper campaign, 3rd is a 20 minute warm-up for thumbnails and then of course at the bottom my old nerd guild wars feels.

Not much has changed since the last update, though I will be heading to Industry workshops next week and I am hella excited about that. I look forward to seeing all everyone from my MA course too, and to catch up with everyone while learning a lot! I will be in London for the week and I intend to be sketching a lot!

Also I started a new project, lowkey. I've been thinking about it since office days in Osaka and I'm gonna make a little oneshot Guild Wars 2 comic, about 10~ pages long, give or take a couple. I've written the script so far, and started thumbnailing out how I want the layout to go. Its pretty dang hard but I knew that going in. Thanks to this though, Im finally starting to get my head around clip studio paint! Another program to learn the quirks of! Hopefully next update I'll have something better than napkin scribbles and some cheesy lines in a .doc to show for it. (And also progress on the long painting)!

Sketchbook update as of July; Lots of people looking at me! So I drew their eyes :)

See you next time!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Studies and WIPS!

Time for another potentially sparse blog update! But I'm here, I'm still drawing, and I'm even doing a little more animating recently! Settled back into life in Northern Ireland all well and good, and getting inspired by all of my friends who have improved so much! Inspired and maybe a little competitive haha! (I'm looking at you, Kami!)

 I picked up a trial version of Toon Boom Harmony and a couple of tutorials, so here I am learning to animate some small fx, its pretty neat! Here's a little water splash! I'll be the first to admit that I have no idea what I'm doing, but having made it, I can atleast see where I could re-draw to make the animation more fluid- where the water begins to fall theres a confused moment of hesitation- Punintentional, Promise.

I've been trying to get a couple of little 20-30 minute warm ups done every day recently, (inspired again, by Kami and also Tom Scholes)  So a couple of master studies and paint practices!

Then to wrap it  up, I tried to mimic the Matt Rhodes style for character designs- a little bit, anyway! 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

I got plans!

With my teaching contract with Interac ending in early March, I've decided to return to the UK for the summer, instead of re-contracting for another 7-12 month period from next September.  Teaching at my elementary schools have been incredibly enjoyable and the time has flown in, almost without me noticing it; only 5 weeks left! I'm glad I applied and got the chance to work here, but its not a job where I can work on my art after work or on weekends, most of my free time is spent getting enough sleep so that I can wake up early enough to get to my rural schools for 7am.

Thankfully I was able to recover the PSD file from an old backup of that GW2 piece at the top- I started it back in the summer and just got back to finishing it over the Xmas break

 This was for a Dragon Age codex illustration, the games have such a cool art style for the murals and wall art that I wanted to give it a go!

My sketchbook hasn't been entirely neglected either (but still not enough!)
 **Sketchdump incoming**

 I've been drawing out variations on these characters, which are developed versions of the "Monk" concepts from the Excelsior MA project. Looking at some of the art I submitted for that course, I can only be embarrassed of. So to Level Up! as it were, and to update my portfolio, I'm working up turn-arounds and character paints for these guys/gays/masked constructs/whatever they are.

Please check out my artstation profile and like anything that takes your fancy!

Friday, 4 December 2015

System Down

Long time no type! Im continually surprised to see any activity on this blog since I haven`t had a substantial Art update to post in quite some time. Teaching is taking up about 70% of my time here, and the rest is probably a toss up between sleep and doing important adult life things- such as paying bills, laundry, video games,skyping people back at home. You know, the things that keep me sane. Unfortunately I don`t get much chance to draw outside of sketchbook scribble.


Can you tell that people stare at me a lot here? Comes with being 6"5 and white in somewhat suburban Japan. So, when sitting on long train journies, I open my sketchbook and draw the eyes that I catch watching me.

So tl;dr a lot of eyes and a lot of Sylvari (Im really enjoying GW2 Heart of Thorns ;D)
I got hit by a ransomware through my appartment building's network and it resulted in me loosing everything on my laptop from the last 3 years. Thankfully I had some backups but they are still 3 months out of date. RIP to many of my .psd files and unfinished paintings in photoshop. Its a rather harsh lesson on keeping regular backups, finishing things and having a reliable anti-virus!
Until next time!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

First things first!

I'm the realist (lolI'msorry)

Four months is a long time! Hi! A lot of things have happened since I last made a post and even since I last set up this draft haha, where to begin? I'm going to Japan! For seven months! Its not an art position, however it is something I've been trying to do for sometime. In November last year I put through an application to the JET program and I went to the interview for that in January though unfortunately, I was unsuccessful.  Undeterred, I applied for a similar position through Interac: Enrich through Education  and an online application, telephone interview, face to face interview and seminar later, I've been given an informal offer of employment! I don't have my visa through the system yet but I'm confirmed to be part of the August batch of new employees. 

On the fronts of everything else, Printmaking, game design and animation, we'll go with animation first!

After following through with a couple of "animation for beginners" write ups, I got the "Ocarina of Time" Link figurine down off my shelf and drew it, moved it a little and drew that on a new key frame over and over. I didn't quite get as far as tweening the frames but here is how far I got with that project;

Ended up being a little fast when saved out as a gif but that's the gist of it. Of course using one of MMO characters as the base gave me a little bit more motivation to finish it. My second attempt was just off the top of my head so its pretty bad- walking and catching a falling pineapple sounds simple but hah, I feel like I learned a new level of respect for fluid and natural walking and running in animation!

Next up the game ideas that I had back at Animex. I honestly didn't get very far in unity and blender/3dsMax. In RPGmaker 2003 On the other hand, I've been learning it by making a terrible, terrible game about all the weird people in my gaming guild."The secret of the magic percy or sth", never coming to a steam near you! Heh. I've put a lot of thought into how I'd like an exploration or environment driven game to look and feel but my personal abilities using environment generation softwares is somewhat/very lacking. Maybe one day!

Digital work has varied between some studies as above, paintovers as below and further down some concepts and illustration based on the Dragon Age tabletop game I'm running for some friends.

Arah years later - Guild wars 2 style paintover 

The Kocari Wilds - environment concept 

Plaza of Lights - wip from a guild wars piece

The Guardian - Tarot card-esque illustration, first in a potential series.

It really doesn't feel like I've done four months of artwork, my sketchbook practice has fallen to the wayside as of late also, though I'm slowly getting back up to speed! And hopefully I'll get most of these finished in the next couple of weeks before I'm shipped off to Japan :)
 On that note, I'll be starting a Sam in japan blog for my experiences, I'll have the link in here and on facebook for when that happens.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Animex Festival 2015

Its just like being back in Uni...

I've been back in Middlesbrough since Monday for the annual Animex Festival for the lectures and workshops from a whole bunch of really cool people who've made and worked on really cool stuff. From the art directors of Epic Games, Ninja Theory and Atomhawk to artists from other companies like Doublefine, Valve, to technicians and  VFX specialist studios such as Framestore, The Mill and Method Studios...It's been a busy week!

One of the best things about the week is that its incredibly inspiring, especially just after maybe becoming a little unproductive due to the holiday spirit and the new years festivities. I have no real professional interest in becoming a matte painter or a cgi/VFX/3D animation artist but its very interesting to see how they achieved various effects, problems they encountered and how they overcame them.

Four days of this week have been solidly packed (9.30am -5pm) with talks on a wide range of topics such as filming a documentary on Dota, rigging a semi-realistic 3D Paddington Bear model for the recent film, the art of Ninja Theory's Alesandro Taini, an overview on methods for a Producer on a Videogame team, how to give and receive efficient artistic feedback, how Groot was animated for Guardians of the Galaxy, how to create a character's personality though writing before approaching the appearance, Character visual design on Big Hero 6, and practical game design through the creation of Alien: Isolation, creating the sets and the step by step creation of each frame in Studio Laika's Coraline, Paranorman and Boxtrolls, Also the concept art and aesthetic direction of Guardians of the Galaxy from Atomhawk. (To name just a few!)

A delicious side effect of being asked to sit in one space for several hours at a time, was that I could draw in my sketchbook while listening to (often incomprehensible) terms and attempted explanations about motion tracking and facial rigging. 20 pages of sketches which I will scan and upload when I get home next week, though for now here are some low quality photos from my phone.

On Wednesday morning I attended a workshop in creating concept art environments from Dave Paget, I learned a new workflow for early thumbnail generation which I am very grateful for! I didn't resolve the image during the class, as it was only a half day and most of the class was the explanation and demo.
The lower one is just quickly carved out with the lasso tool, and top is painted over a little for more detail. I still like the bottom one more though.

The evenings saw us taking to the bar in the student's union for networking and portfolio reviews with all of the speakers from that day. The response to my work was pretty positive, but I did get some excellent criticism also, due to the various expectations and requirements of the people who I asked.

But I love walking simulators! :D

I was able to think a bit about a plan that I have for a possible personal project, where I teach myself enough script writing in Unity and Blender to create a 3D environment based on my sketchbook and print style. I'm currently playing with a lot of ideas, though I'm almost certainly thinking far too complicated for my current skillset;

  • initially black & white with simple exploration as the only real objective
  • First person 3D environment, mouse controlled camera, perhaps a webplayer unity or dl 
  • Graphical style evolution as you explore - Evoland but with art process- start with sketchbook, end up in a rendered painting environment
  • Subtle narrative expressed through the atmosphere and key colours/music, perhaps ingame text 
  • Swords & Sworcery kind of exposition - less words more imagination
  • Similar kind of experience to non-games/walking simulators Dear Esther, Gone Home, The Stanley Parable, Leviathan,
  • environment develops as you explore, or maybe through a collectible/chest?
  • feels like keaton henson/Mogwai/Explosions in the Sky - bleak/contemplative/
  •  the line drawing AE test should be how it starts - black screen, white screen, lines draw themselves onto the level shape from the camera starting position and transition quietly into the actual game with no indication that it has begun,
  • It could be quite interesting to create the textures through printing, scan them and apply them digitally for a papery look
Now as cool as much of that sounds to me, I don't have any game making experience, I don't know how long it will take me, I can't texture or model (yet) and I don't have any money to fund it (though, if I do it all myself it'll be free right? haha who knows!)

 Printmaking catch-up

Now for a print update, since while this blog has remained un-updated, I've been quite busy at the print workshop in Belfast.

I drew, etched and created a 10 print edition of the Captain Marvel lithograph and then painted over in watercolor to create a varied edition. Its kind of annoying that you can't get very much cool merch for Carol like you can for the other Avengers :( But if you'd like one of these prints for your own, they're available on my Etsy!

I've drawn and printed my 2nd Lithograph, Vigil (the design from the previous post) and unfortunately, I was unable to edition it as I left too much white spirits on the surface and I lost a section of the design. So I had a bit of fun with bleeds and washes on the 3 "error" prints. 

Digital scrapbook - This year so far in Photoshop

Guild Wars 2 fanart

illustration idea

Self portrait

more Guild Wars 2 fanart (paintover)

And a bunch more things from my tumblr scribble tag!
Thanks for reading this far, and if anyone reading this has any suggestions for resources to learn C++/C# (or even recommendations on where I should get started on the whole coding thing, I would appreciate it!)