Time for a new project!

It’s been over 4 months since my last blog LOL I have absolutely no excuse.

This blog is very much a thing for me, as it doesn’t really have any followers. So if I don’t feel like writing stuff for it, or have nothing to write about, there’s not really any point for me. Especially because I’m so busy all the time. I don’t want to force myself to do it for continuity’s sake, I have way too much stuff to do!

Buuuuut.

I have a reason now!

I’ve begun work on a new personal 3D project, the kind of thing I can blog semi-regularly about with updates for, unlike the comparatively quick paintings I usually do.

Speaking of, I’ve done a fair bit of painting lately, so here’s a small selection, and you can see the rest here¬†on my Facebook since that’s the main place I post my art shenanigans;

But about that 3D project.

It’s taken me roughly 10 months of trying to start projects and promptly abandoning them to come to this point. In fact, it was a year 5 days ago since I handed in my university Final Major Project. Which is just weird, and a little bit alarming really. However, I haven’t just monged around doing nothing since I started working at Creative Assembly. The project idea didn’t come to me in an instant and easy moment of realisation. It’s been a very frustrating process.

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Proof… cute_workspace up there in the left corner is attempt #5! (and has a temporary name please believe me)

I’m here now and feeling good about where my new project is going, which is great, so without further ado, here is the concept for it;

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I worked the concept over a very basic blockout lit in UE4, and I quite enjoyed creating a concept for something rather than just creating random paintings like I have been. I struggle to paint in details at the moment, but I’m happy with the overall feel of the concept and it works for what I need it for.

The idea for this project came about when I started thinking about stupid over the top ideas for adorable painting workspaces I’d like, such as on the top of a mountain under a giant parasol or in a huge Studio Ghibli style field of waving grass under a blue sky. I decided I wanted to make something small and manageable in the form of a (you guessed it) diorama, and I found myself really excited about the potential of this idea as something personal to me which I could make into a portfolio piece for fun.

In my Pinterest inspiration-hunting travels I came across the Palladian Bridge in Prior Park, Bath, and I really liked the design of it. I also like things surrounded by water so it seemed like a good place to start.

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I had to shrink it down and down until it made a small diorama, however, so I lost a lot of the awesome forms of the bridge. But I still like where it’s going.

I’m going to be fully hand-painting the scene without Zbrush to stress me out, as I really want to focus on my handpainting skills and just have as much fun with it as possible… sometimes the technicalities of Zbrush, 3D Coat and so on can get a bit frustrating.

Unlike past projects I’ve done, I’ve put quite a lot more consideration into the early planning, such as what plants exactly will be in the scene. I’m glad I did this, as it gives me less to worry about later and I can get it all really cohesive now.

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I’ve also done my usual thing of making an exhaustive list of assets I plan on having in the scene, but I’m keeping this open to change in the future as I go. It’s mostly just to help get my feet off the ground.

Where this project will go I’m not 100% sure… there are a lot of things to consider, such as how I’ll tackle that big rhododendron tree in the background or how everything will actually look once it’s all put together. But that’s a lot of the fun of it for me, and I’m excited to see how it will turn out.

Mostly I’m just happy to be back on my game and doing a more long-term portfolio piece again. I was a bit worried I’d never feel like doing personal 3D work ever again!

Until next time ūüôā

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Christmas Sketching (from Life)

Christmas is gone. I am sad. I don’t know how it happened. ūüė¶

Back to life and reality and eugh.

Over the course of my Christmas I made every effort to power through my new sketchbook, since it took me almost 2 years to finish my previous one. I’m about a third of the way through it now, and considering¬†I bought it in November I’m pretty happy with that. The sketches, doodles, and drawings I have produced in that time are a mixed bag of failures and successes. Though I’ve shared many of them on my social media profiles such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, I thought I’d show them here and talk through my process (or lack thereof) and what I’ve learned.

 

Firstly for this post, major comfortzone-ing; I’ll talk about working from life. Since I have zero confidence in my ability to work imaginatively, I will almost always opt to draw what’s infront of me over that cool idea floating in my head. In fact, I’ll often sit there for up to an hour at a time trying to find a cool item or place to draw, only to decide that today is not a good day for art and eating copious amounts of biscuits is¬†a much better idea.

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Bad drawings

I’ll usually find that my ability to draw what is infront of me comes and goes with seemingly little to no pattern. Sometimes I try to be fluid and relaxed, and what I draw is just an awful over-flamboyant mess with no form or decency of line or accuracy. Other times I just tense up and what I draw is at the other end of the spectrum; I overthink every line and the drawing just begins to look like something I would have drawn years ago. The lines become feathery, I overthink line weight, and again I lose sight of what I’m trying to draw- perspective becomes totally off and the drawing just doesn’t¬†feel right (see above).

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I was happy with this one, but felt really tense before starting it

Less often, but I feel it’s becoming more common as I improve, I get it¬†just right. I’m not sure what the secret formula is. Sometimes I feel really excited to draw and I’m like YEAH LET’S DRAW, and it all goes to shit. Or it all goes right. Sometimes I’m really tense and nervous about creating another failure, and again it can go either way. Most likely I’ll start off a drawing pretty well, get a little over-zealous, and then go in with a bit too much line-weight or get a bit carried away with shading and ruin it. Such is life.

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Before and after I got carried away. I liked how it was, but felt I could take it further with caution. I took a photo beforehand because I was worried about ruining it…

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A mixed bag

This selection of bird drawings, all done in one sitting, is a good example of both failed and successful sketches. The top left sketch¬†was done without expectation and went really well, and then the following ones were a real mix. At the bottom of the image you can see where I’ve cut off even more pretty awful sketches. In all the drawings I would consider ‘failed’, I can see that my lines become soft, unconfident, and scribbly. The image doesn’t look like the subject matter and they are abandoned. Perhaps the subject (in this case) moves, or I just can’t enjoy the drawing when I know it’s all gone wrong already.

Here’s a few more sketches from life. I wouldn’t say I’m happy with them, but they’re ok.

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I did this one in the grounds outside my¬†flat. I’d just abandoned another piece which I had wanted to be a longer piece and I was cold and annoyed, but it was good to finish on a positive note before I went indoors. I did a lot of simplifying what was in front of me; there were many more trees in the background and leaves on the grass. I feel like I’m beginning to get the hang of simplifying what I see for the sake of creating a nicer piece of art. I used to draw word-for-word what I saw, but unfortunately real life is never perfectly composed and you have to learn how to modify it, within reason.

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Some flowers in a vase were the least-intensive¬†option for me when I was feeling a bit meh about sketching. For this one, I found that taking the time to shade in a darker background made a crap drawing look less crap even though I altered nothing else. The dark shading makes the flowers pop more and appear more three dimensional. Doesn’t change the fact that drawing cylindrical objects is ridiculously difficult though. Part of the reason I found this sketch so difficult was that there was no particularly directional lighting falling on the subject. This makes it very hard to give the sketch dimensionality; the subject as a still image lacks it in the first place, particularly a complex and colourful subject like flowers. It’s hard to not just make your ‘shading’ match the value of the hues you see (in this case I think it was bright yellow and dark red), rather than the lighting.

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I decided to draw my whole view of the room I was in here, since I’ve not done that in a while. I didn’t really dedicate myself to trying to get the perspective correct or anything, hence why it’s a little wonky. That curved radiator at the back was a pain. Mostly when I’m drawing full rooms like this, especially when items of furniture are places at different angles, I realise just how different angles will appear from first glance. Trying to translate the angles of the walls and furniture from around you in 3D space to a small 2D rectangle is much harder than it would seem. It’s one of the few instances in which I’ll use my pen held up in front of me as a horizontal line of comparison. I move the pen around myself in an arc (with myself as the centre of the circle), and make an effort not to move my head far from looking straight ahead at the centre of my image to avoid messing up the perspective. That’s my method anyway, but I’m sure there are loads of better ways of doing it.

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My mum’s dog Charlie is a gangly lurcher who gets himself into the weirdest and most awesome positions to draw. He never seems to be comfy though, so he moves a lot and I have to draw him fast. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ll usually start with the feet/legs or back line first and work out from there. Foreshortening is usually the hardest thing to deal with when drawing him but it’s a fun challenge.

That covers all of my life drawing for the Christmas period. I forced myself to do a few imaginative sketches recently, and I was going to bring those up in this post too but this got way longer than I thought. I’ll write up a separate post for those and share soon. I’ll also see about trying to make a sort-of reflection on the year, and my art over that time. ūüôā

Laterzzzz.

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Trying to keep up

I last wrote a blog at the end of September (when I said I would write another blog soon lol), and now here I am in mid November. Finally, I’m feeling that my life is a bit more settled and I can start doing stuff outside of work rather than just sleeping. I’ve booked myself on a crocheting course for beginners where I can make adorable things, and I’m trying to hype myself up to book horse riding lessons again so I actually get some exercise. I do life drawing after work on Wednesdays and am beginning to find the time, energy, and will to do personal work too (mostly 2D but some 3D).

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I wouldn’t say my work-life balance is perfect, but I’m feeling like I’m beginning to sort myself out a bit. Maybe it’s just because I’m so tired when I come home that I am forced to relax and physically cannot stress over stupid stuff. Not to mention that every weekend since I’ve moved down south has been busy with one thing or another such as family visits or visits around the area. It’s nice to feel busy and like I’m living my life.

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Considering my how busy and/or sleepy I’ve felt outside work, I’ve been quite happy with how much art I’ve had time to do, and I feel that I’ve been making a bit of progress. I probably have too much to share here at once, and I’ve not been super active on social media, but you can see some updates Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I’ll endeavour to post more in the future; one of my goals is to not get too behind on my social media presence/blogging so I can keep trying to build up a following online (‘what following?’ I hear you say. Yeah. I’m trying).

So my plan for the immediate future is mostly to keep doing what I’m doing on the work-life balance side of things. It means I don’t get as much work done as I have in the past, but I’m mostly content. I would, however, like to get a bit more drawing/painting on location done- something which is difficult with the onset of winter- and some more 3D work. I’m very conscious of potentially falling behind with the most up-to-date technologies which you by default learn about at uni but can easily lose sight of in industry. I’ve just started a personal hand-painted asset project but my next 3D project I’d like to be a more UE4 based environment/diorama project like I’ve done before. It looks like there have been some exciting updates to UE4 since I last used it in May.

I find blogging is nice for recording my intentions, thoughts and feelings, so though I don’t have the time to blog like I used to, I’ll try to make semi-regular posts where I can. Right now I can’t think of what my next post would be, but perhaps I’ll start making more topical posts than just ‘this is what my life is like right now’. I’d like to create more informative and interesting posts.

In the mean time, I’ve just got to try and keep up with what’s important and not let myself get lost in a 9-5 work life.

 

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Where did all that time go.

In mid July I was like woooo I’m going to start blogging again, I am so organised! Then it was the end of September and I was like WHAT YEAR IS IT and I haven’t written any blogs. But look, I’m here again and about to give it another go.

Honestly I’ve avoided writing blogs because way too much is going on, and then obviously as more and more happens in my life the prospect of writing about it becomes ever more alarming. It does, however, force me to write a much more condensed retelling which I think for your sake is probably much easier to handle. Nevertheless I’ll endeavor to write a little more regularly in the future despite time constraints. In fact, I reckon I’ll break this blog into a couple of bits so I don’t go too crazy-overboard. I’ll revise that idea if I suddenly realise that actually my life was way less action-packed than I originally thought (which is always the case).

So. From the beginning. I have my last blog open so I can see where I left off last time.

I graduated! Look at this sickening photo of my face. Try-hard.

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Ugh.

Got my degree and stuff. And then I had a busy busy summer (of absolutely no art, before you get excited). I went to the Maldives. Ah man, it was so pretty.

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In true adult-female style, I avoided swimming in the sea mostly, because it made me feel gross and ruined my make-up. However I gave up my poncy bullshit to jump in and go snorkeling here and there which was just insane and dreamlike. When you swim to the ‘drop-off’ point and the seabed just falls away into darkness… it’s incredible.

Then you see a shark appear from the shadowy depths and you remember that to your horror humans¬†have explored more of the moon than the sea bed and nope nope nope I want out. I suffer¬†from a bit of thallassophobia and submechanophobia (probably a made up word from the internet¬†but it’s totally a thing), and even the sight of the anchor point for the buoyancy ring where you could hang out and rest made me uncomfortable. It’s hard to explain. But it here’s a photo. Does this make you uncomfortable?¬†It’s not meant to be there, man.

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I still regularly visit the submechanophobia subReddit to look at pictures to scare myself though *shrug*. And I love the idea of shipwrecks and all that jazz. But I think I’d die¬†if I was thrown in the sea with one.

But yeah. Snorkelling. It’s all well and good until one of these chases you;

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Triggerfish!

The teeth are the first thing you notice as it comes up from the seabed to take a chunk out of your leg. You flee in your mammalian, flailing grace, and then spend the rest of your trip on high alert for these guys who just wanna ruin your day.

Snorkelling is fun, I swear.

Aaaanyway I loved it all, up until that bit where you have to get on a tube with wings and fly home. We went via Dubai, and it just so happened that we were in Dubai airport when this happened;

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Oh.

So there I was, chilling out at the gate, and suddenly alllll the planes are cancelled or delayed by like 6 hours. Cue me looking out the window to see A PLANE ON FIRE OUTSIDE. I’m not the happiest flier on the planet. I wasn’t impressed. But I spent the delay time befriending fellow Redditors who were also trapped in Dubai airport. It’s a small world!

We got home. We didn’t die. Mum and I drove to Devon in my new car (yaaaaay) to see my boyfriend Jonah and his family. It was nice. I learned to shoot an air rifle. We ‘camped’ in a fancy yurt. We went for a walk in the nicest wood I’ve ever seen. Lots of inspiration!

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This photo is actually a test to see if mum really reads my blog or not. It’ll make her really angry if she knows I posted a picture of her online. It’s funny.

There’s definitely been a lot of inspiration on my travels this summer. Lincoln antiques fair where I went with my dad was packed with amazing oddities¬†to look at… things I wouldn’t even dream of, and Totnes town in Devon just has so much weird and wonderful stuff going on.

I did actually do one drawing in Devon. Jonah’s dad lives in a shepherd’s hut. They’re gorgeous, very cosy. And great to draw!

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I wasn’t very happy with the drawing and I had to rush as it got dark, but I felt at least a little bit productive for doing it.

Most recently, I went to Industry Workshops 2016, an art event in London which brings together concept and 3D artists mostly for networking, socialising, and lectures. It’s a relatively local event compared to things like THU and also affordable, so I make an effort to go so I can meet all my favourite artists and make new friends. I didn’t watch a huge number of lectures this year. Mostly I felt inclined to talk to people and also¬†feel sad about being too scared to talk to people. Overall I enjoyed the event and I’ll probably go again next year. I love meeting people and seeing all their art.

IW got me back onto drawing again a little bit, so I started playing about on my iPad Pro here and there. But I think¬†I’ll share that stuff on my next blog post because this one is getting too long and boring. My next post will be much more exciting, I just needed to get all that summer stuff out my system before talking about more recent¬†events.

Cool, bye. Sorry for being boring. Until next time!

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It’s all good.

I haven’t been particularly busy since my last post. In fact I’ve been very, very lazy. I suppose it’s good to be lazy sometimes but it doesn’t stop the guilt plaguing me! I’ve been trying to do at least a little bit of sketching or whatever each day, to varying degrees of success. I’m trying to force myself to post every little piece of crap or gold I produce, so feast your eyes on this mixed bag.

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Beverley Bandstand (Abandoned)

I really enjoyed where the linework was going with the above piece. I worked on an A5 piece of thick watercolour paper, and the unyielding nature of the paper meant I got the finest line possible with my pen. However, I got the scale wrong on the page, meaning the decorative roof is falling off the top and I ended up squashing the overall image to try and fit it on the paper. Also, I forgot how to perspective.

This piece came about because I was trying to create some art for an art shop in Beverley which had asked to potentially stock my work (woo hoo!). But when this went wrong I decided to leave it for a bit and try again another time (a time which is yet to come up). I’m even tempted to work at home from photos to save myself the time and stress of always getting things wrong on location.

I’ve lost my confidence a little as a result of too many consecutive failures and I’m not sure whether I’ll get in contact with the shop any time soon¬†because I don’t think I’m consistent enough yet to sell. I think my work is pretty good. But only when it is good! And that’s not often. Consistence is key.

On the bright side, I ended up going for coffee with a complete stranger who approached me as I was working (you can do that in non-murdery places like Beverley), and it was lovely and refreshing to meet a new interesting person with uncannily similar interests to my mother and I. I’m not much of a believer in fate, but this was as close as any experience I’ve had.

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Caffe Nero on location

The following day I retired to the relative safety of a cafe after my blunder in town. I’m finding over time I’m getting more and more nervous of people approaching me to see my work. It’s mainly for 2 reasons; 1) my work is always going wrong and it’s embarassing, and 2) when people ask what I do, I can’t hide behind the title of student anymore! I hate it! When I say I’m an artist, people expect you’re a professional. And then we’re both disappointed with what we see on the page in my hands.

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Sad doodles.

Over the course of the week I’ve been getting more and more unsettled and angry about my art ability. So I went and sat on my own in the garden to be angry and angrily draw a wheelbarrow and plants. You can tell I was angry because I didn’t try very hard and they suck. Angry angry.

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Charlie

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Charlie

Mum’s 8-year-old lurcher Charlie has the most hilarious and adorable proportions and is really fun to draw. It’s both a blessing and a curse that he shuffles around as much as he does. Sometimes when I catch him still for a few minutes though, I can get a decently rendered sketch. Feel free to laugh at the more failed sketches.

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And finally… OIL PAINTING BLEUGH.

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Flowers in the garden (failure/rain not permitting edition).

It is one of my greatest goals in life to become an accomplished oil painter outside of becoming a respectable artist in the game industry. I have boundless levels of respect and awe for painters. As such, I’ve been reading Alla Prima by Richard Schmid. It’s absolutely brilliant (and I may be slightly regretting¬†loaning it to an artist friend for two weeks haha). It also makes me feel suitably useless at life, especially when I don’t understand what I’m reading (often).

At the very least it’s inspired me to start painting again, but every stroke I paint¬†often leaves me more frustrated than the last. I just can’t articulate the amazing things I want to paint onto paper. That won’t stop me though. I’m hoping when I move down south to my new job to get involved as much as possible in whatever art community is down there, and perhaps look into seeking someone to mentor me in painting when I’m not working. In my dreams, I fantasise about¬†studying at SARA. *sigh* But that will never happen, I can’t afford it. ūüė¶ So I’ll have to find the next best thing. I’ve already started stockpiling plein-air equipment and more oil painting things ready for my weekends to practise.

If anyone has oil painting advice and critique as I share more oil stuff in the future, whoever you may be, then please impart your wisdom!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s edition of Anya’s Moaning. In happier news;

I will be graduating with a first class degree! It appears from my grade sheet online that I got a 95% mark on my Final Major Project, which is insane. I’m still waiting to see if this is an incorrect assumption, but I’ve been reassured it’s not and I see no evidence stating otherwise¬†(it only says ’95’ on my sheet, but not what the 95 is out of).

I also found out today that on top of my first I will be receiving the DMU Media Production Best Final Year Student award! This made me so happy, and made me feel like my hard work and tears and just crazy hard work ethic had been recognised. It really made my day.

I’m feeling guilty for writing this blog at my computer now, so I should probably go draw to make myself feel better. Maybe I have a problem?

Art is hard, and it makes me want to cry and stomp and throttle people like a large toddler.

But it’s all good.

 

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All my plans have changed!

Oh hey.

I’m back. I’m going to try and continue blogging regularly again, like I used to. I find that it encourages me to create art much more than if I’m just keeping it to myself. Now that I have too much time to handle (at least temporarily), I thought I’d put an update about my life since university to get the ball rolling.

Where have I been?

I’ve been lost in the world of final-year university. It’s been pretty absorbing. I see I haven’t posted here since January, but I haven’t completely forgotten¬†to blog. I’ve been working on my university Final Major Project, and you can get caught up with what I’ve been up to here¬†in a separate blog I created.

Basically, I made this;

So that project pretty much took over my life since January. But it’s done now! My deadline was at the end of May, and since then I’ve been winding down from university work, moving away from Leicester, and just trying to take my life back a little.

I certainly feel like I’ve got the worst of my laze-around-do-nothing urges out of my system. Now I’m back in Beverley, I’m feeling the need to get back into a routine and create art again. Which is why I’m here.

I don’t really know where to start after abandoning this blog for so long.

Um.

I have a job?

Yeah. I’ll start there.

I have a job!

I have a position at UK studio The Creative Assembly as a Trainee Campaign Map Artist. I’ll be working on Total War: Warhammer and learning the tricks of the trade as I go. I start September 1st and will be moving all the way down south to Horsham. It’s a long way from home!

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So yeah, there goes my plan of ‘taking time off’ out the window…

It’s great though, because there already quite a few DMU alumni working at CA, so it won’t be a completely unknown group of people. Also Horsham seems to be very close by to other big towns for game development. I’m hoping to be able to attend some meet-ups.

Almost unbelievably fortunately, my boyfriend landed a job in the same area, and we’ll be living together down south. We got crazy lucky there. Since he starts a month earlier than me, he’s having to deal with things like flat viewings and stuff while I just sit here. I’ll waltz over when it’s time to start my new job.

So that’s good. I also get my results for university tomorrow… ha… I know it literally affects nothing in my life, since I’ve already got somewhere to go, but I’m still a bit nervous. I’d like to achieve the grade I’ve been aiming for. We shall see. My graduation ceremony is on the 21st, so Jonah and I are combining our birthdays and graduation as an excuse to meet in Leicester and also go to visit London together before we reconvene at our new home in the south.

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Drawing in the garden.

Between now and starting at Creative Assembly, I have quite a lot of holiday plans and such to get excited about. I also get a new car on Thursday so I imagine I’ll be driving around to try and get used to driving and not crashing again. But between all that stuff, and hopefully during as well (not the driving bit), I want to get back into creating art. I’ve started out slow with some pen work in my sketchbook, but I intend on getting back into oil painting with some commissions for my mum, digital painting, and eventually 3D work.

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Drawing in the garden.

As I start creating art again, I will of course share it all here. ūüôā Pictures are much more exciting than all these words I’m throwing at you.

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Drawing my uncle’s car.

Hopefully each new blog post will have some pretty pictures to look at. I’m excited to start producing new art again, even if it’s a bit less than I used to make, what with working around a job and all. I hope my blog proves as interesting as it was in its university heyday. I’ll try not to be too boring…

Thanks for reading!

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Worries for the future (and bonus painting!)

New year and stuff! Shiiiiiit. This is where it all starts to get real. I mentioned last year (hahaha) that I have a lot of anxieties for the future. I’d like to talk about them. I want to get them out of my head and into writing, and I want you to read them and tell me your thoughts, feelings and experiences.

I need to feel less anxious about the future. This post is where I want that to start. It’s going to be a long one!

To start off, here’s a couple of paintings I did before the new year;

 

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Unlike last week, I decided to spend a longer amount of time per painting (about 3-4 hours). I feel like I’ve started to get to grips with an oil painting method and setup that suits me. I use minimal oil because I find that I just end up pushing the thick paint around on a layer of thinner oil-paint mix, and it creates a nasty watered-down effect. It gets really hard to create smooth transitions. I tend to use more oil on areas of one colour such as backgrounds where I want the paint to last longer.

I’m absolutely going to continue oil painting in my spare time. I’ll have less chance during my FMP, but I think it’ll be important to take a break from digital mediums, and in the future I’d love to have a space where I can just leave my paints out to come back whenever I want. I really want an art studio where I can feed creative passtimes such as painting, garment-making, embroidery, and so on, and maybe one day I can sell my painting work.

So, my future. What is going to happen to me this year?

I don’t know! I don’t think anyone in my position does… But you can’t help but wonder, and worry. So here is what is happening in my head right now.

Will my FMP interest employers? Is my work good enough?

First thing’s first; the now. My FMP officially begins in a little over a week, and I’ve already done a lot of thinking about it… a LOT LOT. I’m not expecting to bowl-over employers, but I do want them to be interested. I want my work to stand out. I want them to hire me. Duh. In my usual fashion, I think and think about everything FMP related. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what runs through my head. But here’s an idea.

-What’s the style going to be? I should make some style guides. But what styles shall I test? How do I test styles? What if there is more than one style I like? What if I prefer a style but the process is too long to be viable? What if a style suits one diorama but looks awful in another? What if my favourite style involves Zbrush?

-How the fuck do I use Zbrush? *series of over-active thoughts about workflows in Zbrush and how stressful it would be but also how much better it would probably look*

-Where do I want to work? I don’t know. What do I do? No one is going to want to hire me if I’m not tailoring my work to them.

-My final dioramas are going to be nowhere near as badass as they are in my head. What’s the point in even trying.

-My ambitions are too much for UE4. And I’ll go insane trying to bend UE4 to my will.

-Will employers like my work? I don’t want to think about it.

-I am not ready for this.

There is so much I tend to think about, and worry over. It’s ridiculous. But I can’t help it. I have such a strong image in my head for, at least, certain aspects of my dioramas, that I will worry and worry about how the hell I’m¬†going to achieve it. Wanna see my UE4 to-learn list? Yeah you do.

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What happens pre-graduation?

I’ve also been thinking a lot about what happens in the run-up to graduation. When is a good time to create business cards? I want them in time for degree show (if that’s even happening), but if I create them now I don’t feel like they’ll represent what I’m about in a few months time.

When do I start applying for jobs? Will my portfolio have good enough work by then? Do I even want a job straight out of uni? What if I never make my mind up? What if I can’t find a studio I’d like to go to? What if they want me to start immediately after uni and I’m not ready? What is ‘ready’?

What happens immediately post-graduation?

That brings me on the the stress fest that is post graduation. Like my FMP, I’ve thought about this way too much to be healthy. My main concern is whether I’ll want a job straight after university, or later. Obviously it’s extremely difficult and uncommon to achieve a job straight out of uni. But it’s still something I could choose to aim for, if I wanted that. I’ve heard that the sooner you find a job out of university, the easier it ends up being to break into the industry. This leaves me feeling really under pressure to find a job asap and at least break into the industry first.

On the flip side, however, I’d quite like to take some time out for a month or two and live a little. My dad would like to go to NYC, and my mum to Devon. I’d like to do some personal work, and improve my oil painting. Maybe even sell a little work. There’s been talk of me getting a car and I’d like to re-learn to drive. But I don’t know how much of an effect this would have on my chances of eventually finding a job. I feel like most graduate jobs (and particularly internships, which I’d be interested in doing) will probably be available to apply for straight out of uni, and I’ll miss my window and have to wait ages, perhaps another year, for an opportunity.

If I apply to a job in, say, Newcastle that starts in 2 weeks time… how the hell do I find somewhere to live and move in that fast? How?! Moving straight from Leicester to a new home complicates this even more…

Ah, so much so stress about.

I guess my ranting boils down to this; how long does it take for your chances of finding employment to wane after being out of education/employment? Or does it even matter if your portfolio is good? Should I plan to take time out first, or should I plan to just dive in to a job and think about trips/life later? Can I apply for a job straight out of uni but just have a couple of weeks to go away with family before starting?

How do I job?

I think some people become frustrated and irritated by my over-active mind. They sigh and go, ‘there she goes again’. Nutter. Whatever you think. I sigh too.¬†It’s both a blessing and a curse; it pushes me to keep working hard and improve, but every time a respected industry artist or art director stops responding to my correspondence, I can’t help but think well there’s my terrifying over-eager stressiness driving away another future contact. Remind me to never speak to you again/apply to your studio. I can’t look you in the eye.

Anyone else get that sometimes? Just me? *sigh*

I’m not 100% sure what the point of this post was, bar getting stuff out of my head. I’m going to share this to Facebook and I’d love for everyone and anyone who does arty stuff to share their opinions and experiences. Even if I’ve never met you!

Well. I don’t know if this post has made me feel better or more nervous. However I do think that it’s affirmed that I’d realllly¬†prefer to have a month to myself before I took on a job, if the opportunity to instantly have a job from uni arose. I have no idea about the logistics of this plan though. But hey.

Pour your hearts out to me, as I pour mine out to you!

Thanks so much for reading! Happy 2016. It’s going to be a roller coaster.

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Happy Holidays and stuff!

I’m currently snuggled on the sofa in my ridiculously fluffy new dressing gown and socks. I’m actually a little too warm… I hope everyone has had a lovely not-too-warm Christmas. I’ve had a great time with my family!

Now I’m getting a cold. Despite all the warm. My holidays are ruined.

Aaaanyway like I said, I’ve had a great time and am now very much looking forward to my boyfriend Jonah coming up to Beverley for New Years celebrations! Haven’t gotten much art done in the run up to Christmas, but I did crack out the oil paints to have a go at, since I have no PC/tablet. I tried to create a bunch of alla prima still lifes, and am hoping to do a few more before I head back to Leicester.

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I’ve got a lot to practise! I’d like to get better at oil painting because it’s a skill I really respect, and I’d be really proud to be good at oil painting. Also I think people love to buy a good original oil painting, and I want to sell some! I know for sure my mum wants one, and I keep refusing because I’m not good enough yet. I need to learn more about the technique, so I think Alla Prima by Richard Schmid is one to add to my reading list.

I still feel guilty for not doing any more art and prep for my FMP. *sigh*

I’m loving all the eating and chilling out, but I’m really looking forward to going back to Leicester in the new year and getting back into a routine with my FMP. Even though we haven’t started yet, I’ve still made a huge ‘to do/to learn about’ list, and I often lay in bed before sleeping thinking about where my FMP is going to go. I really hope it turns out how it is in my head, which is super awesome. I’d probably have doodled some ideas if I had a means to. Pencil isn’t colourful enough and hell no I ain’t using oils.

Speaking of which, look what I got for Christmas!

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It’s an iPad Pro (and an Apple Pencil somewhere in the post) for me to sketch on out and about! You may or may not recall that I bought myself and iPad Air and Wacom Creative Stylus to doodle with and generally use, and I’m really glad I bought it. It’s been a really useful piece of kit, particularly for showing my portfolio to people in London over summer. I did, however, find that the stylus is quite cumbersome with a really fat nib and dodgy palm rejection. I didn’t sketch much.

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So much clunk. Also I suck.

This rather large (twice the size…) upgrade should be great for drawing with. I’ve heard so many good things and can’t wait for my Pencil to arrive in 2016 so I can give it a go! I absolutely love the idea of being able to do plein air work or idea concepts in colour without the mess of paints, and them putting the PSDs on OneDrive to access on my PC and work on later.

I’m also looking forward to setting up my pretty new moodlight diffuser in my room, reading my 20th Edition Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, eating tasty chocolate, and eating ramen out of my new bowl! …I like eating.

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The new year is going to be full of fun and terrifying new things, eeek! And I’m going to graduate MAAAAAAAAH. There are too many things to think about; it’s overwhelming, so I just don’t ha.

All I want to do is break down and freak out about how terrified I am for the new year and leaving uni and jobs and how much I’m going to have to do for my FMP and ah ma gawwwwwd what am I going to doooooo. Maybe I’ll write a more comprehensive, thought out blog about my thoughts and fears for 2016 and my final project. For now I’ll just say Happy New Year! And see you next year! (Maybe before, it depends how much of an urge I feel to unload my thoughts on you.)

BYE.

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Christmas Woes.

Handed all my work in a week ago, and since have proceeded to blissfully do bugger all, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, inhaling much food, and playing The Witcher 3.

This is all I’ve done all week unfortunately.

On Monday, I headed in to uni to present ¬†my Final Major Project idea to the a couple of tutors and see if I would get the formal yes/no to go ahead. I got a yes! After some consideration we agreed that I could create 3 dioramas, rather than the initial 4-5 I had wanted to do. I decided that spending 3 weeks on each of 5 dioramas would stress me out, and probably leave me frustrated because I wouldn’t be able to reach my full potential with each. 4 dioramas was the next conclusion, but I later asked to have it whittled down to just 3 so that I could spend time making them a) gorgeous, b) super atmospheric, and c) lively with moving water, grass, sound effects etc.

Quality over quantity. I want something that hits hard in my portfolio and is super pretty!

If anyone has read Robin Hobb’s Fitz/Fool books, you probably know there are a whole load of weird and wonderful locations I could potentially turn into dioramas. I’ve chosen 3 that I think I am happy with;

  • Fool’s¬†tent.

In the dimming light, the Fool’s colorful [tent]¬†was like a blossom cast on the snow. Illuminated from within, the bright panels gleamed like stained-glass windows. What had seemed random designs suddenly resolved into dragons and serpents cavorting. …¬†The glow had come from a tiny brazier, set in a small pit dug in the floor of the chamber. The silk walls caught the heat it generated and held it well, while the light seemed multiplied by the sheen of the fabric. Even so, it was not bright inside the tent: rather it was lit warmly and intimately. A thin rug covered the rest of the floor, and a simple sleeping pallet of wool blankets was in one corner.

  • Fool’s Buckkeep tower room.

Here was light, and flowers, and colors in profusion. There was a loom in the corner, and baskets of fine, thin thread in bright, bright colors. The woven coverlet on the bed and the drapings on the open windows were unlike anything I had ever seen, woven in geometric patterns that somehow suggested fields of flowers beneath a blue sky. A wide pottery bowl held floating flowers and a slim silver fingerling swam about the stems and above the bright pebbles that floored it. I tried to imagine the colorless, cynical Fool in the midst of all this color and art.

  • Stone dragon garden.

I glimpsed the green-beaded, trailing branches of willows coming into leaf and the rose-tinged trunks of paper birches presiding over a deeply grassed meadow. Beyond I saw the brown standing husks of last year’s cattails deeper in the vale. The lush rankness of the grasses and ferns foretold swampland as surely as the green smell of standing water did. ‚Ķ Before long we came to where an energetic stream had long ago washed out a bridge and devoured the road to either side of it. Now it trickled shining and silver in a gravelly bed, but the fallen trees on either bank attested to its flood time fury. A chorus of frogs stilled suddenly at our approach. ‚Ķ Blackbirds called and early insects hummed. ‚Ķ words seemed to hang in the still sweet air. Then I saw the dragon. ‚Ķ We stared at it, as unmoving as it was. Golden and green, he sprawled under the trees in their dappled shade.

I’ve chosen these places because I think they sound beautiful and all have very different atmospheres in my mind which will make each one stand apart from the others.

I can imagine them being incredibly surreal, and want to be able to pull off an enchanting mysticism through colours, sound, texture, composition, and perhaps most importantly lighting. I think this will be a real challenge to achieve in a tiny, enclosed diorama where you can’t have incredible vistas outside the windows and such. But I think the sense of intimacy I want to portray will hopefully overcome this.

I’m really excited to get going. My first task will be to work out a style through creating a set of very small style tests to work out how I want to model and texture my scenes. I’d really like to do this over Christmas, but with no computer back in Beverley that’ll be impossible. So… I’m hauling my oil paints and such home with me, to get some traditional art therapy instead. It’ll do me good, even if I’m guilting hard right now.

In the mean time I guess I’ll just… think about styles.

I’m a little stressed. I should just accept that I can’t work and chill out. *sigh*

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Deadline day, FMP time!

It’s been a while since I posted anything in my weekly blog, because honestly I’ve been too busy/tired. As part of my university projects, I have had to write a big blog post and a Word document every 3 weeks, and it’s just kind of put me off casually blogging for a while. I was just repeating stuff I’d already said in those documents. Today, though, it’s deadline day. I’m handing in the 3 projects I’ve created over the last 10 weeks and I’ve written all my ‘formal’ blogs (you can see them under the ‘submissions’ drop down at the top of the page if you want). There, you can check out my in-depth creative process and how badly I suck at time-management.

Now I’m going to try and enjoy blogging again! Yaaaaay!

Gosh, where do I start? Ok, so… in the last casual blog post I made, I mentioned briefly that I was finally getting somewhere with my FMP idea. Since then, I’ve discussed ideas with various people, and decided the best course of action would be to base my FMP on an existing IP- namely, a book series. This would save me buckets of time on the world-building/imagineering front which I tend to get a little too embroiled in. The idea of basing an FMP on my own world became less and less exciting to me as I began to consider this as a real possibility.

A series of books that I am deeply passionate about repeatedly popped into my head as pretty much¬†the¬†only IP I’d be willing to work from. I took the plunge and decided to email the amazing Robin Hobb whose Fitz/Fool books I have cried and laughed with for years now. She writes fantasy under a couple of aliases, but Hobb is where it’s at! I must have picked up Assassin’s Apprentice about 6, 7 years ago now? It took a couple of chapters for me to get into it, but after that… well. She’s onto her 8th book now, and I’ve read them 3 times. I have all sorts of editions, from super old ex-library copies I picked up on Amazon, to brand-new shiny hardbacks. I’m soon to be the proud owner of the 20th anniversary edition of Assassin’s Apprentice.¬†Seriously, read her books!

And guess what, lovely reader? She said yes!

Cue over-excited meltdown.

I’m completely in love with the worlds and characters she has created, and have toyed with the idea of creating some casual fan-art illustrationy things for a while. What better than to create such work for university as my final project? And get marked on it! I derive so much satisfaction from creating small, concentrated dioramas in 3D that I think it would be the perfect project for me. Throw in some illustration and concept work and I could just about explode from excitement. There are so many places in the books to choose from, and I can’t wait to start narrowing it down.

WoW Diorama (1)

WoW stylised diorama from my most recent project.

Style-wise, I can imagine them been semi-stylised. Not to the point of my WoW diorama, but perhaps a halfway point between that and my market diorama from Summer. Who knows, though. I’m in the process of creating a moodboard at the moment to work out what appeals to me most, and I think I’ll end up creating a couple of really tiny style tests too.

So yeah, I guess that’s my awesome news for 2015. Next Monday I have to present my idea to the tutors, and they’ll give me more advice on the direction of the project so I can start really thinking about it over the Christmas holidays. So this weekend is going to involve writing a presentation, and rooting through Wikipedia pages and the Hobb books I brought to university with me to find all the potential places¬†I could create in 3D. A big part of me wishes I had more time, to create characters and eventually entire vistas too!

Calm down, lady.

Next week I’ll probably have an FMP update and maaaaybe, just maybe, some personal work. Geez, what even IS personal work?! I’m hoping over the 2 weeks that I’m away for Christmas I’ll have chance to do some traditional art since I’ll be PC-less.¬†That’ll be refreshing. Anyway. I have a life to get on with… apparently it’s Christmas in two weeks and I’m attending the midnight release of that Star Wars movie next week? Hm. Until next time!

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