Friday, December 19, 2008

Warty WIP

Christmas Pudding takes priority over finishing this, in a day or so I'll repost it finished.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Did I ever tell you

about the time I never met Bono?
That was one of those turning points (or unpleasant realisations) as it were.
Still ... why reminisce and be stuck on principle about something that didn't happen.... when you can also draw something that doesn't exist.
Another warhammery orc say.
Or start a drawing on a morbid nursery rhyme like "Peter Pumpkin Eater"

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Orc in progress. All of the nonsensical detail in all of these sort of flies in the face of my design spiel- but I guess thats the aesthetic- although I do have roughs where I sort of "Lach-ified" things so they make more sense/sort of work. Thats the trouble with those warhammery things- you always wonder if the various factions are so cranky because they can't sit down or feed themselves because of their outrageous get-ups(ie can't sit down for the spikes or are constantly being accidentally gouged by the guy standing next to them who is supposed to be on their side.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lach-Hammer 40k

I've started a warhammer inspired bender, which will last probably for a week or 2,- I've done a whole bunch of roughs but here are a few shaded roughs.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A1 Life drawing stitched

Ok so heres that life drawing. It was 6 sheets of A3 Paper which I roughly aligned at the time by drawing rough crosshairs on the pages. I've spent a day shading and darkening the dragon, cliff and seat- it took that long because of the real estate involved. Trying to shade across the paper edges was a problem-I had to 'stroke' in one direction instead of back and forth-also I couldn't draw where the sticky tape was.
I haven't tried to fix it across the page boundaries yet though.
Now that its scanned I might give the girls some clothes or groovy costumes-( thats the trouble with removing the stackable chairs the models were sitting on and replacing it with a dragon-
suddenly you wonder why they're out riding a dragon nude-
... but then I guess theres a proportion of glass half full people out there who support naturist dragon riding and need little encouragement to do so ).
But then in marketing terms it'd have to be gold right? 2 Nudie girls, 1 dragon, spikes everywhere...
As they say "better than a poke in the eye with a burnt stick".

hmm- I've been trying to upload a large version-seems blogger just goes and resizes it down.
I think I'll put it and the others on my website and make a link.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What I did on my holidays part3


Well all of those images- is about half of the drawings I did at the concept art thing in Wellington.
I just need to darken the lines on the rest and clarify them a bit(because I used a blue pencil they're a bit faint,- I should have known better but I guess it was a comfort thing seeing as I haven't done life drawing since May).
All of them are life drawings- but you can see I repurposed the model on the fly on quite a few. The most severe deviations are the harpy( she was sitting on a chair with her legs up on another)
and the girl sort of lying on the lion thing(that one I could only see her head- she was lying on the pregnant girl but it was a really bad angle- so I had to make up the rest).
I started this sort of gigantic picture for the two girls who were the mainstays of the models on the last day- it was spead across about 5 torn out pages of the sketchbook very roughly aligned bigger than A2 across)- but it could be sort of nice so I'll try and scan and stitch that one up so you can see it . What I need to do though is to think up some properly designed armour/ornament etc so that i can apply it in such situations,- rather than the sort of off the cuff things that aren't as nice as they could be.
Seeing all the people working off photo's, (and the great photos on the forum that might be used) does make me wonder why I was doing it the hard way with a sketchbook on my knee.... but then I'm trying to test myself in reality and not reduce the exercise to being a 2d copyist.

What I did on my holidays part 2

What I did on my holidays.....

Saturday, November 15, 2008

they mostly come at night...mostly

It seems wellingtonians come out at night, especially friday and saturday nights and the happy campers I'd witnessed between rush hours by day are replaced by a much hipper, slicker, far better looking crowd at night.
When I get back home tomorrow I'll start scanning the drawings I did while I was here- mainly life drawings (and my life drawings that I convert on the fly).
As for the workshop, hmmmm....I'd say drawing any sort of mech-ish soldier is a fair waste of time- as is doing pages of guns- there seems to be quite a lot of those in existence in people's folio's. Myriads.
Also quite a lot of sketchbooks with sort of 'surrealist train of thoughty' pages of merged drawings, some in highly rendered miniscule.
So what's the answer? Well I'd say its actual design and designs that work/are functional (within whichever fantasy framework).
I saw pages and pages of peoples design variations- but there never seemed to be any basis for judging one option against another - particularly with clothing.
And its odd that, for example you see a lot of legged mechs/robots/tanks- but I'm yet to see any with multi-directional wheels for example( Nasa seems to like them on their concepts)
I quite liked Wes Burt and Noxismad and their work, and actually Jason Manley's talk on contracts/legal stuff was the most important /useful bit of the whole show.
Seems a lot of people work off digital photos, particularly with life drawing(except obviously the instructors -with the exception of Andrew Jones.
The life drawing models were in general very good,
there was one girl who dressed up in various cosplay sort of get-ups... so looked interesting- but she didn't keep still-which made things difficult.
Whereas there were a group who had been hired from 'Mermaids'( a local strip club) who all kept very still during poses and were basically excellent.

It weird to think that for so long where I used to work concept art was a peripheral thing -almost an unjustifiable luxury even as far as during Destroy All Humans, where they had trouble 'finding work' for the one "official" concept artist at the time.

The other answer is to work on my own projects or a have a specific purpose and an accompanying context for what I do. And I still didn't see anything that might relate to contemporary design- say of buildings or products- it all seems firmly set in the game fantasy design style- so there's an opening there. Given how many in america emerge from that Art Centre place, you'd think they'd be busting to have contemporary modern design in their city environments.
Interesting how people from cold countries really embrace modern design and how they seem to be very creative- maybe its because they get cooped up and need something to pass the time.
Enough rant though, it is after all "the art stupid'". So next post will be a big drawing post.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Meet the wellingtonians

You know what you look like after you've been camping for a few days? Well imagine you've been camping your entire life. This then is what a lot of wellingtonians look like. The initial fright wig of the first few days camping settles a bit in an attitude of weary resignation but still.
I was 2 days unshaven before I thankfully found a razor in my bag, once I did shave I realized this marked me as a foreigner. Wellington itself though is very interesting, with almost too many restaurants. Theres quite a few weathered sculptures too. I particularly like the design of Te Papa, the shapes and levels inside and the way the windows frame the views. My mobile phone doesn't work here so thats bad. Theres a bookshop with almost a whole bookshelf devoted to farm tractors-so if my son jonathan were here that would be good.
I bought a book on design sketching but my initial delight was soured when I looked further and realised the base drawings weren't so good- still.....
As for the pic, well it's about a year old, - a sort or ogre for a project of mine- I guess it suits the Wellington(weta) vibe.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Big ass Santa chair in progress

Here we see Simon Forbes and Cezary Stulgis's brilliance turning my chair concept into something Santa can love.
I haven't seen the final one, but its so close.... I think Cez is responsible for the ornate carved heads, the temptation would be to do a budget chair devoid of details but I'm glad he couldn't help himself.

Fun with Acrylics,- fun with Cintiq

The two black and white images,- what are they about?
An allegory of taxation?
Er no, but lets just say that not only shit happens,- but art happens too.
Not to say the two are connected....well sometimes they are,- but hopefully not in this case.
The acrylic dinosaur is my attempt at doing something (quickly) in a prototypical attempt at a dinosaur image for kids. My son thought it was a 'scary dinosaur' but loves it all the same. Trouble is- how do we sell this without him noticing its gone(from his room?)
Answer- get a canvas print?

Here are a couple of the roughs from my job for Macmillan.

Macmillan Images Pt2

Here are a few more images from the educational book I was working on.
Again unfortunately there simply wasn't the time to do proper realised drawings of ships and their equipment and to fix/redraw things wholly from the roughs. So its the dream of a ship and the dream of a ships compass(in the same way as my gingerbread man and fox is the dream of afox and a piece of dancing gingerbread.)
Which is a shame but thats the reality of the time/money/quality thing.
Still its much more elaborate than I think they were expecting.

Faster Pussycat, Colour! Colour!

Here are a few images from the educational reader I've done for Macmillan.
The images aren't as refined and tight as I would like,- but in a way they had to be rough because to do highly polished realistic images would have been way over 'budget'.
Perhaps if I owned a copy of painter or used textured brushes or layered texture over the images to help bamboozle(the way they do) it might bind the brushstrokes together and sell the simplicity better. The faux perspective is a result of translating the roughs as is,-I fixed ones(not these) where it was noticably wrong. It would be nice to have proper time to do research and studies of everything beforehand,- mind you tall ships are hard to find in queensland.
Hopefully(more importantly) the feeling and the story is right despite all of that.

Made it

Well I made it to that creative masters forum featuring Ron Cobb, and I very nearly didn't.
I was struck down by some sort of virus on the days before.
Simple pleasures like keeping your food down and not having to crawl back and forth between the bath and the toilet are often overlooked.
I made it in the end though.
I had imagined I might find a few familiar faces when I arrived(still ill) on the registration/ opening night- not so, and it seemed I was the only person from Queensland there.
There is nothing so depressing as free drinks and nibbles when you can't eat.
I think I recognised a few names from the DLF but couldn't remember where they worked(scott wilcox?)- (none of the name tags had who they were what they did).
Oddly enough though I found myself standing next to Ron while the wacom rep and others barraged him with questions.
Ron actually looks a lot like santa claus, minus the suit .....and his beard is a bit short and too neat...still.
Actually the questions people asked were like the small rocks that create an avalanche, and Ron was ful of interesting recollections etc. Far more interesting though is when you get him talking about the technology he's tried to imbue into his design(s), he really lights up and you can see how that excitement drives things artwise especially things to do with space.
I got my photo taken with Ron and a few others that night so who know where that might turn up.
I chatted to and hung out with Mark Woszczalski( who teaches and also runs Metaldog productions in rural NSW).
The name does sound like the one eyed green guy out of Monsters inc(but of course it wasn't), and I was compelled to joke about the street he works in ("Bong Bong St.").
We watched the documentary they had created for Ron(called a 'Ronologue' because once he starts talking....they basically just pointed a camera at him). Fortunately he's so interesting he could carry that sortof close camera scrutiny for 40 minutes. Then there was a short animation about a metal dog befriending a robot ('Tin Can Heart'). I didn't quite get it sadly- at least the significance of photos at the begining and end, but the texture on certain hero scenes and characters were very nice. in was only when they rescreening it the next day that I scrutinised it and saw all the rough edges/things they hope you won't notice. (Like texture mapping problems, animated geometry self intersecting, composited characters kind of floating WRT walking surface, texture/bumbs swimming). That said I can completely sympathise with this sort of thing slipping to final.
After I was lucky enough to share a cab (and not pay) back toward my hotel, and escape the Arctic weather of Sydney(and the desolation of fox studios precinct on a monday night.).
The next morning I had coffee and breakfast with Mark and of all people Ron Cobb- we all turned up at the same cafe. That morning and for quite a bit at the closing drinks was spent talking/listening to him.
One of the things he said was that he felt he'd bluffed his way through everything,( ie people had faith in him and appointed him in various roles although he had no prior experience or qualification.).Some of the things he talked about in the presentation were his involvement in Alien, Conan, The Last Starfighter,The Abyss, Star Wars and how he didn't end up directing a film that eventually became ET(actually the thing he was going to do and ET were chalk and cheese really).
Funnily enough while he was talking about the Et saga on one of his Starwars cantina images- lo and behold the spitting image of ET's face on one of his cantina guys.
Speaking of spitting images I met Frantz Kantor that day too. He was sitting a row in front of me and looks like John Hurt, and so i was wondering if Ron(having worked on Alien) would remark on it.
It was only during the drinks that afternoon that I found some other concept artists(I'd been sitting at then conference all day - and from the questions various audience members were asking I could tell that they weren't concept artists). They were from animal logic, one of them was a fellow Queenslander- Brad Greenwood (who apparently knew Pete Mullins and the like).
They didn't know me but they knew the job I'd left as some of them had tried to apply for it- funny that.
So there you go.
Also looking at someof Ron's drawings as he brought them out- the Last Starfighter drawing looked vey much in pencil style like Mr Matt Brady.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Forget atom smashing

What those scientists need to be working on is an 'undo button'.

Here are two watercolours- as yet unretouched(like the others I guess- but then its not major work needed. Santy is there because its getting close to christmas so i thought I'd get in early.
The girly with the mysterious monster friends- well I'm not sure,- where's the monsters right arm- not sure either but then in those sort of montage images I guess anything is allowed. She'll get a flower or some adornment in her hair and something on her wrist but I haven't quite decided.

As for the previous post, what were they about? The girly with the impressive gaffer tape and the rat were for the Illustrators Australia 9x5 exhibition. Both were sort of last minute images.
I think originally i had a page or two of grand Ideas but at the last minute I just did whatever came to mind on the "Year of the Rat" theme. I'm not sure if it was my brushes but to me I might as well have painted them with my fingers. After fiddling with watercolour the last month or two it felt like mud painting but they sort of turned out. I should have put some gesso or something for the boards they were on but I didn't have any and it was a Sunday night- just a small set of acrylics my wife had given me 2 years ago but which had duly hoarded away.
Rat girly initially didn't have any gaffer tape and it was with a heavy heart I made her decent.
The green dinosaur is a very quick play with watercolour canvas with a plan to sell it and more like it,- the trouble though is although it was touted as watercolour canvas the watercolour just sits on top and doesn't really bond onto the canvas- so I've had to go and by some toxic spray to seal the damn thing.

On the business side we're about to get cards and stuff printed, I'm going to go a short run initially because the images will change.
Also I've sort of started an educational book for Macmillian in NZ- I say sort of because theres a fair process/amount of work goes on before they even send a contract(which is in fact close to now.)
Also on the book front I've just about finished that first book "A monkey in the Camp".
Thatis its done until I recieve any further word that anything more needs doing.
I think its only now though that I'm a lot more comfortable with the painting and now I'd be more inclined to paint and not just colour in if you know what i mean. So If theres another one you can be sure it'll be far superior.

Also I've decided to attend both the 'Creative Masters Forum" (featuring Ron Cobb) and that Wellington Workshop.
After constantly feeling 'old school' amongst the very young new employees of where I used to work- it will be hope inspiring to be in the presence of someone even 'older schoolerer' but still brilliant such as Ron. I still have my old battered copy of 'The Book of Alien' and you can see that designwise Foss's work is of the 70's - wheres(but for the rendering style) Cobb's could have been done yesterday.
The Wellington Workshop is another matter entirely- and I anticipate being surrounded by hip ,pretty young emo things with pens strapped to their wrists. Still hopefully it should be good despite the 'funk of wank' that pervades (at least in their video of the last workshop).
So leading up to those event's I'll be trying to do more concept art style stuff.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The scribble that dreamed

Note to self- get the idea, sort the construction- figure out how sternum and pit of neck ought to shade.
And do a proper expression.
Next time.
Still... although it sort of ended up a bit Louis Royo or whatever his name is... which is a bad thing,

Should I add the band across her eyes? looks a bit better that way.

- I'll give the idea another shot.