Saturday, 10 September 2011

Feng Zhu Digital Art Tutorials

If you're into your concept art and design, I can't recommend these tutorials enough. Feng Zhu is an awesome concept artist and his digital tutorials are in-depth and easy to follow.  All of his episodes are invaluable and FREE! Subscribe to his YouTube page for more...

This is one of my favourite episodes where he shows how he adds colour to game character line art as well as giving general advice for budding digital artists.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Freshers: 3-Panel Comic Strip (pilot episode)

"When I grow up, I want to be a Comic Book Artist"
When I was a young boy, I was fascinated by comic book stories and one of my goals at the time was to be a cartoonist or comic book artist. (*start the violins*) It's a shame that I didn't get the support and encouragement I needed at that tender age and to be honest I was constantly told it was not a respectable career path. I often stuck my middle finger up at the disbelievers and continued to draw, but when it came to key decisions for university/college and high school, I often chose a Scientific or Mathematical option. I wish I was more stubborn, but I guess the negative comments had a subconscious effect on me. (*tears*)
Fortunately, I still have the passion for visual story telling. My degree in BSc Interactive Systems & Video Games Design may not sound like an 'arty' course, but due to the eclectic disciplines within the games industry and understanding tutors, I was given greater control over what subjects would be beneficial to my career path. I studied programming, web design, game design and scripting but I found my true calling in my 3D animation and concept design modules. In these modules, I was able to awaken and develop my dormant artistic skills. I feel like a kid again, with a finger in every artistic pie and the confidence to delve into new things, like Comic creation... (*cheers and applause*)

I'd just like to make clear before I move on: As this is my first real comic strip, I regard myself as a rookie comic artist so I don't assume I'll conquer the world with my strips. It's just an enjoyable hobby and part of my exploration and growth as an artist.

This 3-panel comic is loosely based on my experiences while at university/college in the UK.
I created a stylized character design for my characters. I've called it Freshers, but the name of the comic isn't set in stone yet so I'm open for suggestions.
I shared the completed pilot with friends and contacts via email, twitter, Google+ and Facebook and received a lot of positive feedback, especially from, comic artist, John Sanford and games designer, Louis McLaughlin (he doesn't know this but the slim character on the right is based on him!).
My main concern was getting the humour right so I'm glad it was funny for the majority of viewers. The background could do with some more detail to give that student bar atmosphere and youthful character.
Alex, the one on the left, is an older student with a bipolar personality. The other dude (hasn't got a name yet) is a cynical brain-box with a dry sense of humour.
I have already created sketches for new comic strip stories so it shouldn't be long before episode 2! In later episodes I will develop their characters a bit more and introduce some new younger student characters.

Short and sweet: Twitter feedback from John Sanford
Louis McLaughlin's feedback on Facebook

Original rough sketch of comic

Daily Drawing Challenges

While on Google+ I did some quick doodles in response to a caption from artist, Carsten Bradley. Various entries including mine can be found on this blog:
Will attempt to do these everyday as they are good practice for developing my creativity and speed drawing.

dragon with parasol
Cartoon character as a sea creature
Monster cereal

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Interview with Ian McCaig

The great artist, Ian McCaig (worked on Star Wars), comes across as such a positive and knowledgeable person. Here's a swiftly sketched portrait while I listened to his wise words.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Character Design - Animal Mashup

I designed this creature while in the waiting room in a hospital in Sweden, looking through a wildlife magazine.
It's a cross between a cat, a mole and an eagle. The instincts and speed of a cat, the wings of an eagle and the digging ability of a mole. I imagine it's habitat to be a forest or cave. Pretty random concept, but was just a bit of fun. I may develop this character further and create a 3D rig for animated short.
Below is a copy of the initial sketch and some quick colour tests.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Gesture Drawing

10-20 seconds per sketch
These are 10-60 second gesture drawings using this Figure & Gesture Drawing tool:

The basic premise of gesture drawings are to capture the shape and energy of the human body through flowing & instinctive strokes. I'm not used to having such a short time between drawings so it makes for an exciting challenge. Great for warming up your fingers before you start on the hardcore stuff.

About 60 seconds

10 seconds per sketch

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Hardcore and Popcorn Posts

Where have I been all this time?
Well you'll be glad to hear I haven't been sitting naked in a dark corner twiddling my thumbs. I have a bumper pack of posts on the way!

I've decided to label my posts either Popcorn or Hardcore. I took Popcorn from the slang term used to describe entertaining films that don't require a brain. The Hardcore label was inspired by gaming, not porn.

Popcorn = Posts that were put together fairly quickly but still worth a read, short posts, slight deviation from career path.
Hardcore =  Posts that are more in-depth and took more time to produce and prepare, Some of my best work, linked to career.
I decided against calling posts that fall in the middle, Hardcore Popcorn...