Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Figure Drawing of Recent

Thought I'd chuck up of all my recent figure drawings from my Tuesday evening public classes. :)

Monday, 14 July 2014

Lunch Hour and then Some.

Got round to doing another lunch hour painting today. At the end of the hour it was nothing special, but I really liked the colours that were happening, no doubt in thanks to all the No Man's Sky artwork I've been looking at over the past few days, and so I kept at it, in total I probably spent a good 4-5 hours on it. I didn't use any reference images for anything, so that's why it does feel a bit iffy, but I'm still happy with the sense of life in the image, and the sort of underlying details dotted around the place.

Thanks :)

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Lunch Hour

Every Tuesday I'm fortunate enough to attend All the Young Nudes figure drawing, but aside from that, I haven't really worked on any personal stuff, because it's been great weather and because I'm making so much during the day on MProf that I don't feel guilty doing nothing in the evenings.

Although now I'm starting to get depressed at this complacency. And SO, I'm going to spend my lunch hour working on personal work. It'll probably just be quick little thumbs, sketches, or the odd speed paint. 

I'll be uploading my figure drawing from ATYN's soon, but for now here's a quick painting I did during today's lunch hour. 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Environments & Ian's Masterclass.

One of the most fascinating things I've experienced to date - Ian's Masterclass - was a great insight into the workflow of a professional concept artist. Sitting watching one of his famous dockyards come to life, I struggle to think of a time when I was as enthused and focused. Futilely, I try to memorise the thinking behind every brush stroke, but that's just not the way it works. What I took away from Ian's class was more of a mindset, and a new range of neat shortcuts and techniques, which have really cut down my production time for environment pieces.

My Own Denki Doodles.

About a month ago I contacted James from Denki, in the hope that he would be willing to chat for a bit about Professional Specialisation, and general art chat. Turns out, he was! Not only that, I requested a brief, which he gave me on the spot, which went on to be featured as an article on Denki Doodles - James' art blog. I've written more about this in my Report, and there's a full write up of James response in the feature, which is here.  However, I thought it would be cool to give a quick synopsis from my end, and touch on my thoughts throughout the brief.

-Father & Daughter Relationship
-2-D Side-Scroller Platformer game mock up screen.
-iPhone 5 dimensions.
-In Denki's style
-7 Days

So I was given seven days to work on the project, and as you can see by the above image, the initial work I started out in didn't exactly scream Denki. To start off with I was eager to not worry about style too much, and let the heart of the brief drive the work. However, towards the end of the brief, I then started to worry about the style, and so that then meant I forced the context into Denki's style, where it didn't belong. And so, I sent the brief over to James for some critique, and it was the usual case - everything he noted, I sort of knew deep down, I just couldn't admit / deal with it until someone mentioned it. Then it full steam ahead. 

By sending James my entire development pool of artwork, he was able to see the trajectory of it all, and noted that he longed for the relationship struck at in the image below, and to try and hold that image close, like a reference bible. 

From that the next stage was developing the daughter and the father together, making sure they not only worked together on a stylistic level, but that their relationship was strong and clear.

After working out this character relationship in my own Denki style, I took influence from something James had mentioned on an earlier Denki Doodles post about creating something mundane from the world, and letting that be visual style guide for the rest of the world. So like James, I messed around with some trees, and I don't blame him, because drawing these vibrant Denki trees is about as fun as it gets. From there I crafter a layered background which harmonised with the trees, but hopefully didn't feel too cluttered.

In the end I was so pleased with the final result, and how well I'd managed to respond to James' remarkable feedback. He sure knows his stuff. The analysis he gave me on the final result is something I'm very happy with, and now I'm glad I stuck at it. If you're interested in doing a Denki brief for James, he's more than happy to help, and would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

1920's Project: Paint-over Sketches

Decided to some paint overs of the sketches from yesterday. In the renders you can see I've used the classic art neuveau circle behind the images to try and keep the early 20th century rooted in the designs, while pushing them. I also took some inspiration from the whole Egyptian depiction from the early 20th century to promote royalty and explore fashion and colours, while again still rooting the world in the 20's.

In the sketch/paint below there is a security guard, and on the right a member of the royal guards. I quite like the idea that arose in the sketch stage of the security guards heart monitor being this big, chunky cumbersome device.

I really like the retro-futuristic impression given off by the deco circle in the royal guards' head gear. i think this sort of iron-man design incorporated could be good at linking members of different factions in a very relevant way. Although, I'll still need to do some more tests to see how well that actually works.

Till' then. :)

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Life Drawing / J.C. Leyendecker.

This week in Life Drawing only 5 of us showed up and so after a couple of initial poses Ryan asked if anyone had anything in mind, and as I'd been looking at a lot of 20's artwork for this new concept I'm working on I offered we look at some Leyendecker illustrations and try some of them out. We did and I think they worked out real nice. Either way it was much more enjoyable than usual. I also stylised some of the sketches, mainly the hair, to make them feel more reminiscent of the 1920's.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Concept Art Context - A Spin on the 20's.

Over the past few weeknights I've been working out a context to demonstrate a strong, interesting portfolio. While speaking to Ian and Tom (my mentors) we discussed the over-saturation of cliches in concept art portfolios. This is something I've always actively tried to avoid in my concept work so far. Obviously it's easy for me to say that, having only worked on student projects, where commercial value hasn't been at the forefront of my mind at *all* times - cliches are cliches because they sell. 

As I've mentioned in many previous posts, I love drawing inspiration from a wide range of sources, and try to be as eclectic as possible in the ideas that I draught. 

20's Headgear Moodboard
I saw a really nice hat in a charity shop recently like the green one in the photo above, and it was one of those *definitive* 20's hats. When I was sitting sketching later on in the day it popped into my head and I started what would go on to be a predecessor to this quick painting:

First Style Test
Later on in the evening I stumbled upon a really interesting website which gives light insight to the music, literature, fashion, and general culture of the 1920's (you can visit it here). While I was reading one of the pages, I think it was one on movies or art, it mentioned the growth of photography versus portraiture, and I immediately got an idea for an interesting context to start coming up with some ideas.

The context came from the idea that the conception and invention of photography as we know it, was fundamentally different, and the result of this being that their would be an alternate timeline created wherein a scientist - a sort of Tesla character - managed to create a capturing device, which, similar to digital cameras absorbed tiny electric signals in the air which could be transpired in a pixel-fashion onto a canvas. I also like the idea of the technology developing alongside a personality, or at least a mock-personality, in the form of a robotic arm. The whole mechanical arm/portrait idea is reminiscent of those street caricaturists you see, and I think, gives the sketch an eery familiar feel to it - and eery familiarity is always the best kind, right?

In a betamax fashion, the invention of this would go on to remove the 35mm-film era from history, being unfathomably more accurate than film photography available at the time. It would also propel general technology ahead about a century. 

I don't know how much more thought I should give the story, as it's probably enough to get some good work from at the moment, and of course, I like to let the art sort of just develop the story as I work. 

Retro-futuristic / Sci-fi sketches.
In the sketches above you can see the inventor testing an early caricaturist photography device, producing 5x7 resolution portraits. You can also see other relevant-of-the-time applications for the device which I don't think are as interesting as the portraiture one, but are still appropriate. In the middle on the bottom you can see a sort of quasi butler / hal character which moves around on rails, and also a weightlifter on the bottom right training against it. The top half of the page is mainly me trying to 
convey the life of the inventor and his mannerisms. 

Below are some further sketches to fit into this world. They don't quite match up stylistically yet. But the top right and lower left ones I feel could converge pretty nicely, and I especially like the androgynous feel of the latter, and will definitely be experimenting with the fashion, like I have here, further. 

Further Character Designs w/ Lighting

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

First Motion-Applied-to-Concept-Art Test + Audio.

For the past few days I've been working on a large environment piece for our prototype idea. Rob and I met up on Sunday and had a little work jam, which turned out to be a great idea, because he managed to get a bunch of gesture tests working, and I managed to get the majority of this painting finished:

I'm really happy with how it turned out because it conveys a lot of the core aspects of our games' environment. Aside from the general mood and colours of the environment you can also get an idea of the navigation of the game, and also the hotspots which will be in the environment.

The clouds of smoke idea was inspired by many things for navigation, such as the mountain in Journey, and the desire to not have any HUD system or traditional guiding elements.

And I'm sure I've talked about the hot spots before but to re-iterate, they are the locations around the map which will trigger the stories and songs of the appalachian people and will be the areas in which the player can interact with objects.

To return to my part of the project specifically, I promised to use audio and motion to give a stronger sense of the game mechanics and aesthetics within my concept art. I've applied these to this piece of concept art and I'm really happy with the end result. The motion gives a greater sense of depth, which ultimately gives a much greater impression of how it would feel to explore in a 3D space. The audio also helps this along a ton. Good ol' freesounds.

Here's the motion concept art - make sure HD is on :

Also here's some style tests and cabin designs I did too.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Mock Brief: Finished

After my first, not so successful, silhouettes for Tom's brief, I did a bit more research into Fantasy weapons, sword proportions, and such. After that I created these:

I think the improvement is pretty dramatic. That is to say, these actually look like believable swords (for the most part). After my first, not so successful, silhouettes for Tom's brief, I did a bit more research into Fantasy weapons, sword proportions, and such. After that I created these:

I got some opinions on the silhouettes from a classmate which helped me figure out the most interesting parts of the designs. After which, I went and rendered the final design. I'm much happier with the design than I thought I was going to be, although I'm still going to polish the handle a bit more and do a separate image which shows off the globe on the bottom of the sword a bit better. Because of the project I'm doing with Rob for innovation, I was in the mind set to think about how to convey maps and direct the player in interesting ways, and when I was looking to add a final kick to the design that popped into my head, and so I thought it could be cool to have the globe on the sword project a virtual map/globe of the game world if you stab it into the ground and would work best for a first-person RPG.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Mock Brief and Maybe Speed paints aren't where it's at.

A few days after Sam and I sent off our first round of questions to Tom from Jagex, we received a hugely insightful, extensive range of answers. Tom went into detail on his professional practice, how he deals with, and adapts to different styles, and how he landed his first job in games.

On top of all of this, Tom was kind enough to provide us a mock concept art brief. The brief was to create a new weapon for a fantasy RPG game along the lines of WoW, and time restraints and other aspects were defined to simulate a truer concept art role simulation. I've done the first round of silhouettes, but I'm not too happy with them. I'm pretty embarrassed by the fact that I've never designed weapons before, really. I've perhaps done a few sketches here and there, but nothing truly *designed*.

I made the mistake of jumping into my silhouettes after only doing a small amount of research, and ended up have little ideas during the silhouettes which meant I had to go and look at other images, which then ended up eating into my time allocation for this stage of the task.

As you can see, these designs really lack any new or interesting ideas. However, I learned a ton by doing these. I had to do these to realise how easy it is to design an awful clich├ęd sword. Believe it or not the work above is about an hours worth. Pretty shocking considering how basic they are.

After I made these I sent them off to a friend who plays this kind of game a lot, to see if he could picture them in a game, and if so, which one.

His feedback, being an artist also, was extremely helpful and critical and really made me take a step back from the designs:

from silhouette and stuff alone i would say 3 is maybe a bit plain for epic loot. im sure ive seen 6's shape, or similar shapes, used somewhere for like the horde side when i played wow goddamn ages ago. Thing is, even though its got that orcy-crafted look you could still make it look like epic loot with seals and glowing sigils and whatever. I think a lot of the handles are a bit thick in relation to the blades. I just looked at wow there and the handles are fairly normally proportioned to a hand compared the mental style of the rest of the sword. I think you could play with more interesting shapes for the actual blades, instead of having those pointy bits sticking on (2+4) just because it looks structurally weak. You could do that but keep the overall idea there, like number 1 being 2 seperate blades back to back. Also could try rough colours if you like an idea, if you're wanting effects and stuff

So for my next iterations I'm going to bear all this feedback in mind, and do much more research into exactly the sort of personality/heritage I want to the sword to have, and hopefully have a much more visually appealing design.

Speed painting.

I've become disillusioned with the idea of spit paints. At least for now, while I'm learning how to do polished art for a portfolio. It's becoming increasingly frustrating to create truly interesting, original pieces when I'm still very much trying to find my footing (in the grand scale of things). I think these spit paints might be more suited to people who've been in industry for a while, and are more experienced. From now on I'm going to focus more on the *painting* and not the speed at which the painting comes about. Obviously the speed is an important aspect, but I don't think it should be at the forefront of my mind when I haven't even started my career.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Complementing Projects

There's been some big developments in the scope of this project since my last post, to say the least.

The new plans have all been green lit though, so that's the main thing.

The new project is a collaboration between Rob and myself. Rob's project is interested in evaluating and studying the emotive connotations of hand gestures in interactive environments. And my project is interested in conveying game mechanics/dynamics/aesthetics through concept art which have been developed through study of a specific story.

Rob's project, in his words, lacked a rich context which would support his experiments; and my project lacks the production side past 2D concept art, and also would be benefitted greatly through the use of gestures, which allow a more aesthetically pleasing and interactively strong way to explore.

The context of my projects' art was to be a folk tale, but I as looked into it, the way of the Appalachian people was much more interesting in its natural heritage and nuances than the stories themselves, at least in terms of explorational potential, I felt. The folk tales of Appalachia all stem from their way of life, and are all interwoven into their environment in some way or another. So, in theory, the Appalachian hillside could act like a hub for many folk stories, which would organically be portrayed to the player, preferably avoiding the interactive design misfire - literalism.

Rob and I are currently fleshing out the Aesthetics of our game as we are interested in the MDA approach to game design.

To give Rob something to work with while I developed some more concept art, I put together two mood boards: one to detail the environment mood, and another in attempt to capture the desired aesthetic gesture relationships I think would be great to experiment the value of the game with.


Gesture Aesthetics
For tomorrows' pitch group, we had set out a to-do list that we decided would be needed to give a clear picture of what it was we wanted to do, without having to give a long-winded explanation - an elevator pitch, basically.

I've currently written a good few pages of a GDD/Project guide for us, which we'll hopefully have fleshed out a bit more by the end of the week. I'll also have a few pieces of concept art to display (below), and Rob will probably have some gestural examples, which I'm really looking forward to seeing.