Wednesday, December 2, 2015

CTNX 2015: Rusty is my middle name

If anyone is reading this that has never been to the CTN art and animation expo, do yourself a favor and get out there sometime. It's an unfailingly inspiring and informative experience, and I plan to attend every year I can. It's a great few days to see friends I don't often get to see, and generally be surrounded by people that do what I do.Below are some of the sketches that resulted from waiting in panel lines or lurking around the costumed model drawing stations. They may not be pretty, but they represent progress!

Please ignore the yellow splotches. I was in a hurry this time and I got a big acrylic ink stain on my scanner during Inktober.

These two were models at CTNX last year as well, they are awesome.

Nerds I saw whilst lurking about in panel lines.

This Sweeney Todd-esque costume was one of my favorites. These two pages also include random silly animals. 

More Sweeney Todd - guy, and a collection of random doodles from panel lines. 

Gotta work on my gesture drawing. 

This lady model had some really great poses that were fun to sketch

Ink sketching is fun because you have to commit. Makes it easy to see where you can improve afterwards

One model and a few fellow CTNers

Experiences like CTN always renew my inspiration and motivation to improve, largely because of the volume of other artists to confer with. Surrounding oneself with artists is a sure way to challenge yourself, and to draw on a a shared passion to stoke that motivational fire. Go forth, and art together!

Friday, October 2, 2015

INKtober 2015!

It's that time of year again, folks - INKtober! Make an ink drawing every day for the month of October - last year I attempted to complete the whole challenge and wimped out at finishing everything, though I did get to do some fun sketches.

This year I'll be taking up the pen once more and making another attempt at completing the challenge. I will be updating this post weekly with new drawings, so stay tuned!

UPDATE: Phew, fell wayyy behind again. Trying to play catch up in these last few days of October! I think instead of trying to do a ton of small drawings to catch up for each day, I'll do some longer ones than I would have otherwise done.

HERE WE GO - newest drawings at the top!

Grumpy Yeti-type guy. He just needs a friend. 

In which I try to get my derpy cat to sit still long enough to draw her

Hat Woman

Old Man

Day 10 makeup - Something. With horns. Tortoise-monster?

Day 9 makeup - Demon skull thinger

Day 8 makeup - firey fairy lady. I guess I felt like drawing some swirly hair today

Day 7 makeup - some sort of swirly fairy lady

Day 6 - How I feel trying to come up with ideas. 

Day 5 - Attempt at making spiders cute. Success? Ehhh., but I do like the ones with little hats.  

Day 4 - Random cat doodles. Tried to use some different shapes. 

Day 3 - Messing with brush today for fun - bard playing a lute by a tree

Day 2 - Goblin Dude. I like his hair.

Day 1 - my friend's dog Bean, and Cthulhu. Naturally.

Get your draw on for INKtober!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

More Woodland Park Zoo sketches!

I celebrated my 27th birthday yesterday, so, naturally, I toted my one-year-adultier butt to the zoo. After visiting San Diego Zoo  for my birthday last year, I decided I might start a tradition!

I ended up having fantastic luck with the animals this trip - the weather was fairly gray and cool, which seemed to encourage the animals to be out and about more. In preparation for Inktober, I decided to forgo the pen while I can and go with pencil, while still trying not to waste time erasing.

Tiger pile! These three were technically still considered cubs, snoozing in a big lump together. Dangerously cute.

Wallaroos! So adorable. The beginning of the raptor show here as well
I haven't yet had a chance to see the raptor show at Woodland Park, so I was excited to get the opportunity today. Turkey vulture, pharaoh owl, and a falcon I unfortunately missed the name of.  
The orangutans were very willing to pose for me today; the gorillas too: "draw me like one of your French girls"

More birds - I really need to start writing down the names as I draw them. The one in the middle right had fantastic weird flaps on  its face

The Komodo Dragon was surprisingly mobile, came right up to the glass to say "sup"

Adorable meerkats, an owl and a lazy-ass two toed sloth

Red lemurs and flamingos, and a random swan

Overall it was a really fun day and I consider the trip a success - strongly considering an annual membership even though I don't qualify for the student prices anymore. If nothing else it will force me to get my butt back there more to get my money's worth!

This week I also was able to keep up with my resolution to fit in some fundamentals practice during my workdays. Living in Olympia, there is a frustrating lack of accessible life drawing. I wonder if I just haven't been looking in the right places, or if there just aren't enough artists around that don't already have student access to figure drawing through Evergreen or SPSCC to warrant other sessions being available.

In any case, I've been making do with the SketchDaily life drawing tool online, and it's certainly better than nothing. I've been taking Scott Eaton's Anatomy for Artist's course online (I'll write a review post on this at some point), and trying to reinforce the lessons with life sketching in between lectures, in addition to the course assignments. I've found this to be extremely helpful, and even adhering to the very low bar I set for myself of 20 minute a day has really helped to hammer the lessons home.

I do intend to get back to a place where I can attend true life drawing sessions with a model, but in the meantime this is a decent alternative. So, there's truly no excuse to not be practicing, even if you don't have access to life drawing sessions!

That will do it for September this year - incoming next week is the start of Inktober, which I intend to follow with more dedication than I did last year. I hope someone's found today's ramble somewhat useful, and that you'll join me next time for the crazy fun that is Inktober!

Happy sketching!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dusting off the blog: PAX Prime doodles and a new resolve!

Phew! Time to dust off the old blog and actually write something. Whether anyone finds today's post interesting or not, I've realized a few things and this post will help me hold myself accountable to progress I hope to make.

First things first -  I had an amazing time at the end of August at PAX Prime this year! Lots of games, good friends and good times. And some very long lines. I decided to kill time during some of these interludes with some sketching. Lots of interesting people around, and lots of amazing games to inspire ideas, so I had some fun!

A mix of folks actually seen around the convention and some I made up for fun. You get to decide which are which.

Funky animals and faces

Random bard-guy, I dunno could be fun

Now to business. I've identified two major habits of mine that I intend to go about changing, mental obstacles I end up making for myself when deciding how to spend my time.

The first of these getting over the self-pressure to make something awesome, and let myself make whatever comes to mind, crappy or not, for fun and learning. As evidenced by my post frequency, sitting down with the intention of creating something interesting can be intimidating enough to make one avoid it altogether. When the work day is done, and I have precious little free time with which I could produce something, I want it to be good. I want to be able to produce awesomeness at this point in my career, and I'll shoot down idea after idea without even putting pen to paper in search of that next amazing project.

Preemptively striving for perfection and stifling something I used to be able to do just for fun hasn't been getting me anywhere. This is something people have told me all the time as an artist, but only now is really smacking me in the face with enough force to cause me to actually try a different approach. All the time I spend agonizing over what to make and how good it's going to be would collectively to lots of, well, making.

The other of these is to actually see projects, even small ones, through to completion. Regardless of whether I am really excited about a project anymore, finishing it out will still help me build both experience and a body of work. It's hard to have a current best to show if I keep starting things, deciding I hate them halfway through, and then just leaving them aside unfinished. At least completing them will allow me to go through the entire process and have a sold place from which to move on and improve.

So! One of my strategies to help myself improve my habits is to make it so stupidly easy for myself to practice that I shut down any excuses I might have. If I can get myself to go to the gym consistently during the work week, I can certainly commit to an art "workout" each day. I plan to choose a new topic each week for practice and improvement, so that I get some amount of focused work but still change things up often enough not to get bored.

This past week I started with 20 minutes a day, working on value studies. I set the bar low so that there could be no wheedling out of the task for my lazy ass. I also chose to make myself use physical media rather than digital for these 'workouts' just because my job has me working fairly exclusively on the computer. My thinking with this structure is to get myself to do art in a way that eliminates my tendencies towards the bad habits above - it's such a short time I have no excuse for not committing to it, and it removes the feeling of having to come up with awesomeness on the spot.

Here are the results:

Messing around with a bunch of different media for basic value studies - Copic markers (bottom right) were the most difficult

More marker shenanagins (top) and ink with brush and white charcoal pencil (bottom)

As would be expected, I'm fairly rusty and out of shape to start with. But this is my blog, not my portfolio, and I've resolved to post my crappy work as well as my less crappy work, to hold myself accountable and to keep a record of my progress. The point right now is to just redevelop the habit of creating for fun, get and maintain the artistic muscles in shape, and chip away at the bad habits I've developed. And starting with 20+ minutes a day has resulted in a few more hours of practice than I've had most weeks. It's a start. I plan to post more results of my weekly art workouts, as well

I know I'm not the only one to struggle with habits like these, and I'm interested in hearing what other artists have done in terms of getting back into the habit of making stuff, and keeping your own self-criticism from holding back your progress!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Character Modeling Project WIP - ArenaNet Art Test

I've decided to have a crack at the character art test for ArenaNet. It's fun, and I figure if I don't get the job I'll learn a lot from doing it anyway.

So! This week I started out working on getting a base mesh going with nice clean topology for the body and face, and blocking out proxy versions of the armor pieces to situate everything, and also to use as starters for the low poly pieces. Next up will be working on hi poly versions of everything!

I'm hoping to get most of the hi poly modeling done on the hard surface pieces in Max before going to zBrush for details, which always seems to give me cleaner hard surface stuff than if I blocked it out and then sculpted all in zBrush. Now that zBrush 4R7 has poly modeling tools, though, it might be worth taking them for a test run for this project.

Here are some progress shots of the lovely lady so far:

The provided concept art in the background

It's a balance between keeping close enough to the concept, and also tweaking things so they look good to my eyes in 3D.

Trying to keep everything simple at this point. From my  in-game *ahem* research,  lot of GW2 armors make use of double sided planes and alpha, in any case.

I may interpret the back of the armor my own way. I know this armor does exist in Guild Wars 2 the way the ArenaNet artists interpreted it, but since the provided concept doesn't show the back, I might offer up my own take on it.

Still well within the polycount requirement at this point, but I like to have some buffer if I can. I am sure I will need to spend a few polys I didn't account for after I get everything in a high poly sculpt.

Long way to go, but it's a start! Trying to get as much feedback as I can at each stage so that I'm at least cramming new information into my head. 

Working on this has also made me want to play some more Guild Wars. For science. 

Will (hopefully remember to) post updates as I go!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Woodland Park Zoo Sketches!

I've been really terrible about posting anything recently, so I'll compensate by posting a few sketchdumps this week of random stuff I've been doing the last month or so (along with some new stuff).

Seattle has seen some really nice weather this weekend, so I decided to crawl out of my art cave and squint at the bright light in the sky for a bit. Got the chance to spend a few hours at Woodland Park Zoo, one of my favorite places to sketch. Really lucked out, several of the animals were quite active during the time that we went!

I recently got an awesome new double ended brush pen, so decided to use this trip as an opportunity to test it out for sketching. Had a lot of fun with it! Here are the results:

This snow leopard was frolicking around and being adorable

Bears, wolves, elk, eagles and...tapir. What are you doing here, tapir?

Trying out the two different ends of my new pen - both give a line quality that I really like for quick sketching
My sketching habit is much better than it used to be, but I've gotta get back in the habit of posting things, too!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

CTNX 2014 - Sketches of CTN

This year was my first experience of the Creative Talent Network (CTN) conference in Burbank, CA. It was truly one of the most inspiring events I've ever been to - I've never been so surrounded by amazing artists and animators. I met so many wonderful people, and saw a few old friends I didn't expect to run into, so all told it was a really lovely 4 days. Fairly sad that it's over but I will DEFINITELY be going back next year!

I present for your amusement some of the sketches I did during those four days - most were done using my favorite "lurk in a corner and people-watch" technique, at a nearby cafe or elsewhere around the event. There were also some amazing costumed models that were stationed at a few places around the convention hall for hours at a time; some of the best figure models I've ever had the chance to draw. Still others of these were the result of the random need to doodle. It's been rare lately that I've been able to draw just for fun for such a sustained amount of time. The experience was really good for the soul, and I intend to keep it up!

Random doodles and some people waiting for their coffee

More cafe people. Also, I did the top bird after seeing a character design talk that involved drawing over an inkstain - I used the general shape of the inkstain as inspiration. Then I drew the other existential-crisis bird to accompany.

People around the convention hall. Also owls

Some sketches of the awesome costumed figure models - on this day they donned western getups.

Some more of the figure models, and also more coffee-people. I spent a lot of time at Starbucks.

During my layover at SFO airport on the way home. Also at another Starbucks once I got back to Seattle. I drink a lot of coffee.
Hope to post many more random sketches! Will hold myself to it!