As the month closes so does the past 3 weeks or so of intense art re-education by way of the conceptart.org videos. It’s been immensely gratifying though very stressful as well. Hell, I’m stressed out just looking at this piece. There’s lots to like about it but there’s also lots to hate, and at some point in the future I’m planning on a full blown self critique. That critique may never be seen on this blog, however, as I’m embarking on a new project by building a completely art-focused blog. Geekofalltrades was never meant to be an art blog, but it morphed into one because I learned that blogs are a good way to market yourself to new clients and keep yourself “fresh”. Unfortunately I still get people finding this blog with searches like “Neil Patrick Harris is Gay” or “Why I hate Transformers the Movie”, and it really irks me. The new blog will also serve as a journal of my transition from in-game artist to concept artist…or a chronicle of my descent into a life of penury. At the very least, someone ought to be entertained. Thanks to everyone who’s stuck by this blog all these years, and I hope you’ll check out my new blog once it’s announced!
A bonus post for this weekend, in which I’ll likely be at a wedding while you’re reading this. I don’t know if I’ll make a habit of posting on weekends (or if people even care) but I thought this particular illustration was time consuming enough that it deserved more than a few posts. I’m trying to get the values in properly and polish the piece before going over it with an overlay and coloring it. I’m quite unhappy with the lighting at this point and still thinking about how I can fix it, hopefully in time to meet the challenge deadline.
This here’s the gun I designed for my Alchemist Gunslinger (Who you can see in a tiny resized version in the bottom right corner. I’m focusing on only one challenge this week since I was pretty stressed out last week working on two challenges simultaneously. And since I’m going to two consecutive weddings this weekend I won’t have any time to work on it then. The gun’s not particularly imaginative compared to the other stuff in the challenge thread, and I’m fighting the urge to go back and redo it for lack of time. It’s kind of simplistic really, a series of buttons can be pressed to release a chemical that “alchemically” adds properties to a bullet (stun,stopping power, speed/distance). Hopefully the final illustration can make up for whatever the concept lacks in originality.
Last week’s CHoW was to design the ultimate police riot controller, rather timely considering the events in Jolly old England these past few weeks. I wasn’t sure if I was being too clever, but since my initial impulse (and I assumed everyone else’s would be as well) was to go for a bulky riot cop in full riot gear I went in the exact opposite direction. My riot controller would be a parkour practitioner, able to jump from building to building over the rioters while dropping teargas canisters and closing in on the ringleaders of the riot to take them out with electric batons.
Wips and front/back views
Not sure how I’ll fare this week. I was a little miffed that a lot of the challengers didn’t quite follow the “no sci-fi” bit of the brief, which I took great pains to adhere to. As a result i feel like there were quite a few entries this time around that had really awesome designs that just don’t exist in the current/near future world. Next week should be a little more fun, since the theme is alchemist cowboy.
The Oriental alchemist’s Yng-sen had little luck in his previous experiments, mostly because he insisted on using cow’s dung as the basis for his research into the fabled Philosopher’s stone. He finally met with success one day when the village children replaced the cow dung with some of their own as a practical joke, producing not only the Philosopher’s stone but a magical golden creature that would be heavily involved in his future experiments involving cow urine.
This is the final artwork I submitted for the IoW banner challenge. I’m wracking my brain trying to find a way not to say “I’m quite pleased with it” because that’s what I always say, so I’ll settle on the fact that I’m happy with my progress so far though I can see a few areas where I could have made the image read better. Foremost is that while it’s ok to make changes midstream, I should have taken into account the placement of the text and smoothed out the forms of the bearcubs much sooner. I ended up having to do very slapdash fixes much later on, which is never advisable.
The Illustration of the Week challenge has opened up on the conceptart.org forum, and for the first week we’re suppose to come up with a banner that lists all of the rules of the challenge. The banners are usually illustrations in and of themselves, and it comes with some prestige because everytime a new challenge is posted the banner will be the first thing people see. I’m very skeptical my work will be chosen, but I’m hoping I can pull out something decent. The image above is the first few sketches I made. I was inspired by the idea that illustration is “storytelling”, so the first thing that came to mind was someone telling campfire stories. For whatever reason, I’d first imagined dwarves being the characters.
I dropped the dwarves pretty quick mostly because I couldn’t figure out how to draw toddler dwarves with beards that looked like they weren’t old men. Anyway, bears are cuter than dwarves, and lumBEARjacks are the best! I’m trying to create some flow in the scene, after having watched Jason Manley’s very educational series on the basics of design. It’s something I’ve known for a while but for some reason hasn’t stick to me till now. I’m also using very basic perspective to help sort out the placement of the characters and give the image a little more depth.
At this point I’m almost done. All that remains is to add some color and do some cleaning up. I’ve made quite a few changes here, like moving the rabbit up behind the dog, replacing the nebulous creature behind the tent with a chimp (Yes, I just watched Rise of the Apes) and an owl, so the bearcubs look like they have a bunch of little friends with them listening to their father lumbearjacks’ story. I’ve introduced a lot of foliage into the scene (I still don’t know how to control that. :|), made one bearcub look interested and the other one afraid for some contrast, and also fixed the father bear’s hands so he looks more like he’s telling a story than trying to strangle someone.
I’m kind of stressed out about this because I think it looks really nice (at least Aissa thinks so) but I feel like something’s still wrong. Hopefully when I put this up on the conceptart forums someone will be able to point out the glaring mistakes. In any case, I have till this weekend to work out the kinks before final submission and voting.
These “of the week” challenges are really draining me, but I have to admit I’m addicted to the rush of finishing an artwork every week and there’s no better way to push yourself to improve. This week I took on a character instead of a creature, and the brief was as follows:
Eye-Gouger is the name of the most ferocious and savage Orc warboss of all the Orcs. Driven by his horrible blood-lust, he Wreaks havoc and destruction where ever he leads his endless horde of Orcs and War machinery. He is not known for his patience, forgiveness or mercy, and does not think twice even to kill an Orc of his own clan. Eye-Gouger reputation is all but clean, he kills the cowards, eats human babies and kicks cats. He also has a horrible habit of gouging the eyes of unloyal or unlucky servants of his, hence the name.
Designing for Video Game:
This week’s design is aimed at a video game character. Whilst that should not limit your design, we would like you to consider how to bring this character out to suit a video game of the style of your choosing.
A lot of the orcs that were created for this challenge were your rather typical monstrous, hulking orc, but one of the gesture thumbnails I made for this led me to designing an orc that was cunning, clever, and ultimately twisted instead of just a hulking brute. You can see that thumbnail above, as well as the rushed character sheet I made to comply with the rules. I thought this piece turned out well, and I may, if I have time, go into the process of creating it with a little more depth if I can ever muster up the energy. I’m rather disappointed that I didn’t quite manage to retain the energy of the sketchy thumbnails. Even looking at it now the 1 minute sketch has more drama in it than the final piece. I also failed to really think about the orcas a video game character, though I made some offhand remark about games in my description of the character to compensate:
The first of many failures in a series of experiments in orc-human relations, eye-gouger’s tribe was betrayed by the orc agent upon whom they were dependent upon for rations from the human Kingdom. His own eye being gouged mercilessly by soldiers of the kingdom, his twisted mind can only find solace when he extracts the same brutality on the race of man.
(Eye-gouger’s attacks have a 20% chance of blinding his enemy, 30% if he’s under bloodlust)
I may be going for the Illustration of the week banner next if I have the energy. I have some ideas and I’ve sketched out some thumbnails but I’ll have to see how this week goes before making nay promises.
I tried joining the creature of the week challenge last week but failed to meet the deadline. This time I made sure to start early and I finished a day early, or rather I pushed this image about as far as I think I could at this point in time. I’m quite happy with it, although it has shit for composition and I may have gone a little insane with some of the new brushes I’ve been playing with in the background. Here’s the description of the monster I posted in conceptart.org:
The Pisces Illuminafaecis is the primary predator of the Mariana Trench ecosystem. It’s elongated wormlike body contains no vertebrae, allowing it to swirl and fold seamlessly through the immense pressures of these depths. Its other unique feature is a digestive process that adds an illuminating quality to its feces. It stores this illuminated shit in an anus sac, which then attracts new prey to continue the cycle of large creature’s never-ending need for sustenance.
I’ve been wanting to set up some sort of figure drawing session in Manila for my own artistic needs. While I draw from life a lot in my sketchbook, it’s nice to have a model that sits still for you whole you’re sketching him/her. Thankfully Feanne and Val saved me the trouble of actually having to start my own sketch session, and since they’re holding it in Fort Bonifacio it’s a stone’s throw away from our place. It’s their second sketch session and the first one with guys. They were a little worried about guys behaving, but I posited that you’d have to be silly to pay 350 bucks to come to Fort Bonifacio to ogle at a nude girl when naked women are just a click of the mouse away. Anyway all the boys behaved so looks like we’ll have some more of these soon. The sketches above and below were a 10 minutes sketch I think, outlined with blue colored pencil and finished off with a brush pen. Her hands look a little claw-like, something I need to work on.
There was mildly amusing moment during one of the last 30 minutes poses where our model just couldn’t hold her pose anymore and had to adjust, giving all of the artists a minor panic attack in the middle of their sketching. I was using a dip pen at that point and the ink hadn’t quite dried yet, so I had to switch to another sketchbook midsketch.
15 minutes later…
Lots of cool people there, and it’s too bad I couldn’t stay and hang with them this time around, but I definitely be around next time. If you’re interested in attending you can “like” their facebook page for more info.